Stories by Amanda Vinicky

What Killed a Plan to Transform Health Care on the South Side

(WTTW News)

A group of South Side hospital leaders are dropping a planned joint medical system after the state failed to come through with funding. What happened — and what it means for South Side residents.

Special Session Recap: Casinos and Curbside Cocktails, No Hearings on Restore Illinois Plan

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois legislators wrapped up a whirlwind special session that stretched to the wee hours of Sunday morning. A look at what they accomplished. 

4 Days in Springfield: Masked Legislators Address Pandemic, Budget

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, listens to debate of SB 671, a bill extending emergency rules on telehealth provisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, during an extended session of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Bank of Springfield Center, May 23, 2020, in Springfield. (POOL PHOTO / Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register)

A condensed special session that began on Wednesday centered on passing a budget and responding to the pandemic. Democrats and Republicans have different interpretations of how ably those goals were achieved.

Illinois’ Pandemic-Era Budget Looks to Feds for More Help

(Adam Jones / Flickr)

Illinois has had its share of financial troubles in the past, but a pandemic has complicated the budgeting process this year — and the state’s answer is to rely on borrowing up to $5 billion from the federal government.

Chicago Hits the Jackpot in Special Legislative Session

(stokpic / Pixabay)

Illinois casinos may be closed due to the coronavirus, but Chicago hit the jackpot as both chambers of the General Assembly narrowly gave approval to redo the tax structure for the planned Chicago casino.

Lawmakers Toast ‘Aye’ For Cocktails To Go

(Photo by Lightscape / Unsplash)

Thirsty Illinoisans who wish they could get premade cocktails for takeout can get their martini (or quarantini) glasses ready.

Rolling the Dice on a Chicago Casino; Will Extra Special Session Bring the Mayor Luck?

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has an extra day to make a play for tax changes that would allow a city-owned casino to finally get underway as Illinois legislators extend their special session into a fourth day. 

State’s Top Doc: Keeping an Eye on ER Stats

Dr. Ngozi Ezike appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, May 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

As Illinois’ economy begins to reopen, Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she’ll keep close watch on people who go to the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms. And if she has time, she may even dine outside once that’s allowed.

Illinois Set to ‘Chase’ Voters to Mail-In Ballots

(WTTW News)

Amid uncertainty over the coronavirus — and how long public gatherings will be restricted — legislators on Thursday swiftly moved to approve new voting procedures for the 2020 general election.

State Lawmaker Gets the Boot for Breaking COVID-19 Rules

(Adam Jones / Flickr)

Illinois lawmakers wrapped up their first day of the legislative session Wednesday — and it was full of drama as they took the rare move of temporarily kicking out one of their own.

Report from Springfield: Special COVID-19 Session Preview

The statehouse is quiet on the eve of a special session. (Amanda Vinicky / WTTW News)

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Illinois lawmakers will return to Springfield on Wednesday for a special session. It’s sure to be special in more ways than one.

COVID-19 Across Chicago: Skokie

The village of Skokie (WTTW News)

Skokie, just 15 miles northwest of Chicago’s Loop, is home to the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the state’s only synagogue for the deaf and Old Orchard Mall — each of which have had to close during the pandemic.

UIUC Teams up with LA-Based Belkin on Emergency Ventilator

Components of the RapidVent (Courtesy of the University of Illinois)

The electronics company is collaborating with the university to produce the FlexVent, a gas-operated ventilator “based on the Illinois RapidVent concept” that was developed in response to COVID-19.

Anti-Defamation League Says Signs at Rallies Anti-Semitic

A tweet from reporter Mike Miletich shows video of a man carrying a sign at a protest on Saturday, May 16, in Springfield, Illinois. (@MikeMiletichTV / Twitter) 

The Anti-Defamation League says some of the activity at rallies protesting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order is “vile” and racist, including posters equating Pritkzer, who is Jewish, with Adolf Hitler.

Tracking COVID-19 in Illinois: State Nears 95K Cases

New statewide totals: 94,191 cases, 4,177 deaths

A bar graph from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows the daily number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Sunday brought another uptick in coronavirus cases in Illinois. Another 1,734 new cases of COVID-19 brings the statewide total of confirmed cases to 94,191, with 4,177 deaths.

Pritzker Creates New Tier of Punishment for Businesses Ignoring COVID-19 Order

A small business in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Under an emergency rule quietly filed Friday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration, bars, restaurants and other businesses that open to customers in defiance of Illinois’ stay-at-home order now risk being charged with a misdemeanor.

Illinois’ COVID-19 Testing Positivity Rate Takes Another Small Dip

New statewide totals: 92,457 cases, 4,129 deaths

The drive-thru testing facility at 6959 Forest Preserve Drive in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Illinois saw its coronavirus caseload increase Saturday by 2,088, but the percentage of positive cases among those tested, known as the “positivity rate,” fell to 15% statewide, down a percentage point from a day earlier.

Shipment of Swabs for COVID-19 Testing Appears to Show Another Mix-Up from Federal Government

(Courtesy of the Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker)

The Pritzker administration says the federal government has promised Illinois 600,000 swabs to be used in COVID-19 tests. But this week, Illinois got what appeared to be 23,000 cotton baby swabs — and officials aren’t sure they can be used.

Illinois Hospitals Resume Elective Surgeries

(WTTW News)

The state’s stay-at-home order is still in effect. Restaurants are still closed — and so is the lakefront path. Illinois hospitals are once again welcoming non-coronavirus patients — and the revenue they bring.

Illinois Lawmakers Will Meet on Budget, COVID-19 Issues Next Week

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Members of the Illinois General Assembly will meet May 20 for the first time since the coronavirus hit “to conduct the critical work of state government in this unprecedented pandemic.”

Marriage in the Age of COVID-19

(Credit: Kobi Swissa of Swissa Creative)

Big wedding blowouts aren’t happening, but people are still getting hitched. How some couples are making it happen during the pandemic.

How Hospitals Will Decide Who Gets Remdesivir

Remdesivir (WTTW News via CNN)

A select group of Illinois hospitals can now treat patients with the only drug so far authorized by the FDA as a treatment for COVID-19. Now the question is: Exactly who will get remdesivir?

Pritzker Staying at Home After Senior Staff Tests Positive for COVID-19

A screenshot shows Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker holding a press briefing from his Chicago home on Monday, May 11, 2020. The governor is staying home after senior member of his staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

A staff member who was in close contact with Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the governor to self-isolate and work from home, even though, as he said Monday: “I feel fine.”

Illinois Receives 1st Allotment of Remdesivir to Treat COVID-19 Patients: 90% Goes to Cook County

In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. (Gilead Sciences via AP)

The only drug given emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with the coronavirus has arrived in Illinois. But there’s not enough to go around – in Illinois or elsewhere.

Pritzker: Illinois is ‘Going it Alone’ in Efforts to Increase COVID-19 Testing

New statewide totals: 77,741 cases, 3,406 deaths

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, in a Sunday appearance on CNN, said he “has not been counting on the White House” for help reaching new virus testing goals “because there have been too many situations in which they’ve made promises and not delivered.”