Possible New Treatment, Future of Restaurants, Transit – NBC Chicago


(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)

What will Illinois look like as it begins reopening?

Restaurants and transit agencies currently battling a shortage of customers are preparing for a new normal.

Plus, a company with offices in Chicago believes it may have a new way of fighting coronavirus.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 5):

Hearing Set for Cicero Nursing Home Facing Lawsuit as More Than 200 Residents Diagnosed With Coronavirus

A hearing is set for Tuesday as a suburban nursing home faces litigation, with the facility’s operators accused of negligence amid a coronavirus outbreak.

The City View Multi Care Center in suburban Cicero is at the center of the controversy, with more than 200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Officials say that nine people have died, and now the facility is facing a lawsuit that accuses them of not taking proper precautions and not instituting protocols that could have saved lives.

The town of Cicero has filed a lawsuit against the facility, accusing City View officials of failing to prevent the outbreak. The suit alleges that staff at the home are not wearing proper personal protective equipment, and aren’t properly social distancing.

“The numbers of individuals diagnosed with coronavirus skyrocketed,” Cicero spokesperson Ray Hanania said. “This is almost a quarter of all of our infections at one location, at one property. That’s huge.”

Cicero officials have issued multiple citations against the facility, but have not received a response. City View officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Company Says Red Light Treatment Could be Used to Fight Coronavirus

What if light therapy could stop the spread of the coronavirus by eliminating the viral load in your nose? One Canadian company with offices in Chicago says it has the technology to make that happen.

“This is a very simple intervention. It takes a couple minutes. It’s inexpensive. It’s portable,” said Dr. Nicolas Loebel, Chief Technology Officer at Ondine Biomedical, the company that developed the Steriwave Nasal Decolonization Technology. “In our case, we don’t see any adverse effects, (or) any significant adverse effects, over a decade in 60,000 patients.”

Approved in Canada for use before surgery to help prevent infections including MRSA, Ondine Biomedical says photodisinfection therapy (PDT) can also fight this pandemic.

Studies have shown the coronavirus tends to colonize in the nose, so the process involves swabbing the nose with a blue-colored chemical compound. Then a technician inserts fiber optic probes into the nose and turns on a red light, the kind of light found at the safe end of the spectrum.

Ondine Biomedical says studies are underway in Canada and they are in discussions with the United States Food and Drug Administration to launch trials in the U.S.

Restaurants and the Road to Recovery in Illinois

While plans to reopen Chicago-area eateries are still on hold, there are a few states that gave the green light to get back to business. Some restaurants won’t survive the pandemic, but the ones that do will have to reinvent their business model to exist.

What will that look like? What are other states doing to prepare, and will it work here?

From your favorite corner diner to well-known chains, there is no question that the restaurant industry – crippled by mandatory closures – is eager to get back to business.

Sam Toia, of the Illinois Restaurant Association, recognizes it may be a bumpy road back.

“It’s not going to be just flip on the switch and 100% again,” Toia said.

Toia’s eyes are focused on the states a few steps ahead of Illinois and their lessons learned.

“We want to keep an eye on states like Georgia, Alaska, Tennessee and Texas and see what they do right, and what they do wrong,” Toia said.

So what might await diners when opening day arrives? Time limits on tables, one-way traffic patterns, single-use menus, distanced seating at the bar, no salad bars, buffets or self-service food, seniors-only dining hours and wait staff in masks and gloves. 

Read more here.

22 Additional Chicago Police Department Employees Test Positive for Coronavirus

Chicago police announced 22 more cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of cases in the department to 463.

Of the confirmed cases, 442 are officers and 21 are civilian employees, police said.

A total of 466 employees have reported positive test results but the department’s medical section has yet to confirm three of those cases, police said.

Fewer Drivers And Passengers Mean New Realities For Chicago Transportation Agencies

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate Chicago’s transportation industries. 

Business shutdowns and Illinois’ stay-at-home orders have resulted in a massive shrinkage in the need for anyone to actually transport themselves to a downtown workplace.  Not only have thousands been shut out of their jobs, but many others are now working from home, a new phenomenon which many employers may prefer as society moves out of the pandemic.

The resulting financial impacts display astonishing numbers, both in the losses faced by transit and transportation agencies, and the financial bailouts being offered to keep them relatively whole.

Fewer cars mean fewer dollars plugged into toll plazas or electronically deducted from I-PASS accounts.  Last month the Illinois Tollway estimated passenger traffic was down 55%, and commercial traffic (such as semi-trailer trucks) was down 9%. 

And the Illinois Tollway may be the healthiest traffic story out there. Metra commuter rail is at 3% of its normal ridership. During an April board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Tom Farmer warned the news is not going to get better any time soon.

And the news is no better at the CTA.

“CTA ridership is down about 80% from its normal levels,” said the agency’s Brian Steele. “We’re actually seeing a bigger ridership drop on the rail side from the bus side.”

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