Read more about the article County COVID breakthrough cases undercounted, but university offers more accurate numbersMcKinley Health Center website
McKinley Health Center on the University of Illinois campus.

County COVID breakthrough cases undercounted, but university offers more accurate numbers

Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only requires healthcare administrators to report severe infections of COVID-19 among the fully vaccinated, the true number and percentage of vaccine breakthrough cases infections in Champaign County and across the nation is significantly undercounted, public health experts say. Data from the University of Illinois shows that breakthrough cases — severe and mild — are much larger than than the state numbers. Since May, 75.9% of, or more than three out of four, positive tests belonged to fully vaccinated students or staff. 

Continue ReadingCounty COVID breakthrough cases undercounted, but university offers more accurate numbers
Read more about the article The story behind the race to test for COVID-19 at the University of IllinoisUniversity of Illinois
The logo for the University of Illinois's COVID-19 SHIELD saliva-based testing.

The story behind the race to test for COVID-19 at the University of Illinois

It was late the evening of April 22, 2020 when Martin Burke, a then 44-year-old professor of chemistry, received a phone call from the university provost. The provost, Andreas Cangellaris, requested that Burke develop a COVID-19 testing program for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.  Over the next week, Burke gathered eight more team members, forming the founding members of what was known as the SHIELD team. The first SHIELD meeting was held on April 30, 2020, just eight days after the Provost’s call.

Continue ReadingThe story behind the race to test for COVID-19 at the University of Illinois
Read more about the article Contaminated drinking water from Peoples Gas leak persists, funds to fix frozen as lawsuit continues
Ignited, contaminated water from the Spiro's Law website. "In some places, the amount of concentrated gas is enough to set the water coming out of a kitchen sink on fire," the website about the lawsuit said.

Contaminated drinking water from Peoples Gas leak persists, funds to fix frozen as lawsuit continues

A 2016 gas leak into the drinking water supply north of Mahomet continues to be a hot topic even five years later as 2021 nears its end. The first official report of a methane leak from the underground holding wells of Peoples Gas was reported on December 20, 2016. The problem location was County Rd 350 E. in the township of Newcomb, just north of Mahomet and near Fisher, IL. Peoples Gas claims to have capped off the well which was leaking and terminated its use. However, homes in the vicinity were still affected by the leak. 

Continue ReadingContaminated drinking water from Peoples Gas leak persists, funds to fix frozen as lawsuit continues
Read more about the article Restaurant closures, failures down under new restaurant health inspection system
KFC & A&W, 1321 N Dunlap Ave., Champaign The health department closed the restaurant Aug. 22 due to “gross unsanitary conditions” during its routine inspection. No details were provided in the report. On Thursday, November 29, 2018. photo by Darrell Hoemann/C-U Citizen Access

Restaurant closures, failures down under new restaurant health inspection system

Since 2019, at least 63 Champaign-Urbana restaurants have failed and 19 have been temporarily closed down by public health officials under a new restaurant inspection system launched that year. 

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Read more about the article Domestic violence exacerbated by pandemic, leaving marginalized communities especially vulnerableDarrell Hoemann
Satellite Jail exterior on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. photo by Darrell Hoemann/C-U Citizen Access

Domestic violence exacerbated by pandemic, leaving marginalized communities especially vulnerable

Domestic violence in the city of Champaign rose by 13% last year, surging from 871 incidents in 2019 to 982 incidents in 2020, a…

Continue ReadingDomestic violence exacerbated by pandemic, leaving marginalized communities especially vulnerable
Read more about the article University of Illinois building monitors inconsistently enforced access while campus COVID cases surgedVivian La
A vacant building monitor desk in the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics in Urbana.

University of Illinois building monitors inconsistently enforced access while campus COVID cases surged

To mitigate infection, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had to utilize several novel technologies, yet lack of staff availability to enforce this technology…

Continue ReadingUniversity of Illinois building monitors inconsistently enforced access while campus COVID cases surged
Read more about the article Champaign elementary students grapple with masks, vaccinesDarrell Hoemann
Kenwood School on Sunday, December 19, 2021. photo by Darrell Hoemann/C-U Citizen Access

Champaign elementary students grapple with masks, vaccines

For one Champaign Unit 4 school parent, vaccinating his child is important.  “How can you go against science?” Daniel Martinez said. “I lost my…

Continue ReadingChampaign elementary students grapple with masks, vaccines
Read more about the article Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab site of most staff, resident COVID-19 cases in countyDarrell Hoemann
CU Nursing and Rehab exterior (302 Burwash Ave, Savoy, IL 61874) on Friday, December 17, 2021. Photo by Darrell Hoemann/CU-CitizenAccess

Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab site of most staff, resident COVID-19 cases in county

Of the five long-term care facilities in Champaign County, Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab has had the most staff and resident COVID-19 cases, accounting for over one-third of all cases in such facilities as of the first week in December.

Continue ReadingChampaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab site of most staff, resident COVID-19 cases in county
Read more about the article Rising number of foster kids linked to domestic violence in Champaign CountyChampaign County CASA, Facebook
Blue pinwheels outside of Michelle's Bridal in Urbana in support of Champaign County CASA and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Rising number of foster kids linked to domestic violence in Champaign County

The Champaign County CASA provided legal services this year to about 595 foster children, but served about 200 less just two years ago. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. This branch of CASA is based in Champaign, but is a national organization that has been around since 1994. The special advocates are contracted by the county and assigned to a child to oversee their home reassignment and to assure they are getting proper care. 

Continue ReadingRising number of foster kids linked to domestic violence in Champaign County

Champaign shootings spread to westward neighborhoods over years, fueled by recent surge in gun violence

Gun violence in Champaign has steadily marched westward over the past three years as shootings have increased in neighborhoods north and south of Springfield Avenue, especially in or near several apartment complexes, according to a review of police data over the past seven years by CU-CitizenAccess.org. With about two weeks left in this year, 16 people have lost their lives. In 2020, there were nine homicides, but only two in 2019. Shooting incidents more than doubled in Champaign since 2019, going from 100 shootings, to 189 in 2020, then to 251 by December 13.

Continue ReadingChampaign shootings spread to westward neighborhoods over years, fueled by recent surge in gun violence