Stories by Kristen Thometz

Bobby Rush: Honor COVID-19 Vaccine Development with Congressional Gold Medal

(WTTW News via CNN)

Bipartisan legislation to be introduced Friday by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush would honor those whose efforts led to the successful development of COVID-19 vaccines, including researchers, scientists, doctors and vaccine trial volunteers. 

10 Things To Do This Weekend: Sept. 16-19

(Credit: Special Events Management)

Tacos, music fests, bloody marys and an art tour by bike usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Pritzker, Lawmakers Vow to Protect Women’s Rights, Call Texas Abortion Law an ‘Abomination’

U.S. Reps. Underwood, Foster and Krishnamoorthi call for federal reproductive health law

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 about a controversial new Texas law banning nearly all abortions in that state. (WTTW News)

In the wake of a new law banning nearly all abortions in Texas, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and members of Illinois’ congressional delegation vowed to protect women’s rights while calling for a federal reproductive health law. “Nobody should be forced to cross state lines to see a doctor,” Pritzker said.

2021 Chicago Summer Festival Guide

The Taste of Lincoln Avenue returns July 24-25, 2021. (Courtesy of Special Events Management)

Neighborhood street festivals, art shows, outdoor concerts are returning this summer as the Chicago area reopens. Here’s your guide to summer fun. 

10 Things To Do This Weekend: Sept. 9-12

(Photo by Ken Carl)

Street festivals, dance classes, outdoor concerts and unique eats usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Pritzker Extends Deadline for Vaccine Requirement for Teachers, Health Care Workers

(WTTW News)

All pre-K through 12th grade teachers and staff, higher education employees and students, and health care workers in settings such as hospitals and nursing homes now have until Sept. 19 to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Illinois Records Nearly 6,000 COVID-19 Cases in a Day

(WTTW News)

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been steadily increasing for weeks and on Friday neared 6,000 for the first time in a 24-hour period since January, according to state health officials.

Chicago Animal Shelters See Uptick in Pets in Need of Care

The Anti-Cruelty Society is participating in the national Clear the Shelters campaign and hosted a pair of events at the end of August. The agency is seeing an increase in the number of pets coming in after a drop-off in 2020. (Courtesy of The Anti-Cruelty Society)

Animal shelters across the city are seeing an increase this year in the number of pets coming through their doors. What’s behind that trend — and how shelters are trying to keep pets in homes.

12 Things to Do This Weekend: Sept. 2-6

(Special Events Management)

Beefy burgers, music festivals, cycling on Lake Shore Drive and mini golf usher in the holiday weekend. Here are a dozen things to do in and around Chicago.

Illinois Records More than 5,000 COVID-19 Cases for First Time Since January

(WTTW News)

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been steadily increasing for weeks and on Wednesday surpassed 5,000 for the first time in a 24-hour period since January, according to state health officials.

Illinois to Require Insurance Coverage for Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders

Advocates: “Mental health care is health care.”

 (Photo by @plqml // felipe pelaquim on Unsplash)

A new law in Illinois will require health insurers to cover medically necessary services and treatments for mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Advocates say the legislation comes at a critical moment and will help remove obstacles to such care.

The Last Word: Dion Dawson

Dion Dawson, founder and executive director of Dion’s Chicago Dream, speaks with WTTW News.

The founder and executive director of Dion’s Chicago Dream talks about the importance of providing fresh, quality produce to fight food insecurity — and the lessons nonprofits should be learning from the pandemic.

Daily Illinois COVID-19 Cases Near 5,000 Amid Surge

(WTTW News)

The 4,942 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus reported Friday mark the highest single-day total since Jan. 23, when the state reported 5,152 cases.

CDC Identifies Source of Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Italian-Style Meats

Health officials have linked Fratelli Beretta brand prepackaged uncured antipasto trays to national salmonella outbreaks. (Fratelli Beretta / Facebook)

Health officials are advising people not to eat Fratelli Beretta brand prepackaged uncured antipasto trays, which have been linked to salmonella outbreaks that have sickened 36 people across the country. 

Pritzker Issues Indoor Mask Mandate for All, Vaccine Requirement for Teachers

Governor: “We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds”

Diners wear face masks as they sit outside a restaurant in Chicago. (WTTW News)

After a weekslong surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced an indoor mask mandate for all Illinois residents and a vaccine requirement for pre-K through 12th grade teachers and staff, among others.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 26-29

Taste of Greektown (Photo by Dimitri Kandalepas)

Greek eats, house music, circus acts and retro tunes usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Pritzker Warns ‘Significant’ COVID-19 Mitigations Could Return if Hospitalizations Keep Rising

Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks about the surge in COVID-19 cases in Illinois at an unrelated news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (WTTW News)

As the COVID-19 surge continues across the state and more people are hospitalized by the virus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned new mitigations could be on the horizon.

Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Italian-Style Meats: CDC

Health officials across the country are investigating multistate outbreaks of salmonella linked to Italian-style meats, including prosciutto. (Ben Kerckx / Pixabay)

Federal health officials are investigating multistate salmonella outbreaks linked to Italian-style meats, including salami and prosciutto, that have sickened 36 people across the country, including four in Illinois.

Suburban Cook County Brings Back Indoor Mask Mandate

(WTTW News)

Starting Monday, everyone in suburban Cook County, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors, officials announced Friday. 

Illinois Records Nearly 5,000 Cases for First Time Since January

(WTTW News)

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been steadily increasing over the past month and on Friday neared 5,000 for the first time in a 24-hour period since January, according to state health officials.

City Health Officials: Opioid-Related Deaths Dropped in First Half of 2021

(Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash)

Chicago public health officials reported 467 opioid-related deaths in January through June 2021, compared with 573 during the first six months of 2020 — an 18.5% decrease. About 90% of the incidents involved fentanyl, officials said.

Advocates: Providing Free Feminine Hygiene Products to the Homeless a ‘Step in the Right Direction’

(WTTW News)

A new Illinois law will make feminine hygiene products available for free at homeless shelters. Advocates say the legislation spotlights an often-overlooked issue, but they’re calling for funding to “put some teeth behind it.”

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 19-22

The Blue Angels are a fan favorite of Air and Water Show observers. (Courtesy of Blue Angels)

Acrobatic airplanes, colorful murals, street festivals and a floating river party usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

COVID-19 Etiquette: Face Masks

People dine out in Chicago on June 1, 2021. (WTTW News)

How do you ask someone to put on a face mask? And how do you tell them if they’re wearing it incorrectly? We asked a trio of experts for advice.

COVID-19 Etiquette: Out and About

(Photo by Noah on Unsplash)

How do you ask someone to give you more space in the checkout line? Or tell your boss you don’t feel comfortable returning to the office? We asked a trio of experts for advice as part of our series.

COVID-19 Etiquette: Vaccines

(WTTW News)

How do you ask someone if they have been vaccinated? Or tell an unvaccinated family member they can’t come to your dinner party? We asked a trio of experts for advice.