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(WTTW News)

More than 100 people were shot over the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, one of the city’s deadliest in years. Some officials are blaming the courts for the recent violence. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Public Defender Sharone Mitchell Jr. respond.

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Provident Hospital of Cook County (Google Maps Streetview)

A year after Cook County officials faced the largest budget deficit in a decade, they find themselves flush with cash, thanks to $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funds and an economy recovering faster than expected from the ravages of the pandemic, according to a budget forecast.

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(Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash)

Opioid-related overdoses in Cook County increased by more than 40% last year. While this spike began in December 2019 — before COVID-19 was widespread — the pandemic accelerated the trend. We discuss the state of the opioid epidemic in the Chicago area.

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(WTTW News)

Breaking the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction is a challenge made even tougher once the criminal justice system gets involved. A new program is helping those recovering find refuge in their own homes.

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McKinley Nelson, 24, founder of Project sWish, is part of a public education campaign to provide COVID-19 vaccine information and address vaccine hesitancy. (Credit: Cook County Health / YouTube)

Roughly 50 social media influencers are using their platforms to encourage people to get vaccinated by sharing their own experiences with the shots. “I want to do my part to get back to normal,” said McKinley Nelson of Project sWish. 

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(WTTW News)

COVID-19 mass vaccination sites in Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove will close Thursday as demand for the vaccine wanes and officials redeploy resources to focus on community-based vaccination efforts.

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Liam Durnan hikes in Cook County’s Spring Lake Nature Preserve. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Liam Durnan has been on a yearlong caper, hiking all 350 miles of Cook County forest preserve trails. “When people picture the forest preserve nearest them, most people think of it being the picnic groves,” he said. “They don’t know how big this thing is. It’s just incredible.”

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(WTTW News via CNN)

Flowers, candy and jewelry are all go-to gifts for mom. But this year, Cook County officials say the No. 1 gift can’t be bought in a store. “This year all your mother wants for Mother’s Day is for you to get vaccinated,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. 

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Downtown Evanston (WTTW News)

With Chicago officials targeting July 4 as a date to fully reopen, suburban Cook County officials hope to have “a similar, if not identical reopening schedule.”

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A small business in Wicker Park highlights its opening hours in 2020. (WTTW News)

Cook County officials are marking Small Business Week, which runs through Saturday, with the launch of a new initiative aimed at supporting small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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(WTTW News)

Starting Friday, restaurants in suburban Cook County can serve up to 100 people indoors or no more than 50% capacity, according to officials.

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(WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health restarted administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Saturday, as officials said it is safe and effective.

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(WTTW News)

Black and Latino residents of suburban Cook County, who are more likely to contract COVID-19 and experience severe illness and die, are getting vaccinated at a slower pace than whites and Asians, according to public health officials.

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(WTTW News via CNN)

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine in suburban Cook County just got a little easier. Mass vaccination sites in Tinley Park and Matteson will accept walk-in appointments through Saturday in an effort to remove barriers to vaccination, according to officials.

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(WTTW News)

The county has seen virus-related hospitalizations increase for 10 consecutive days; and for three days, the availability of intensive care unit beds has dipped below 20%, according to public health data reported Thursday.

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(Andrés Rodríguez / Pixabay)

More than 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in suburban Cook County. While the pace of vaccinations is ramping up, infections are rising, keeping contact tracers busy doing vital work to stop the spread of the virus, officials say.