COVID-19 updates: Classes in Chicago canceled for 4th day

Chicago Public Schools has been in talks with teachers over COVID-19 safety.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 837,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 62.5% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Classes in Chicago canceled for 4th day

As negotiations between city officials and the teacher’s union continue, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Twitter Sunday night that classes will be canceled for a fourth day, on Monday.

"Out of fairness and consideration for parents who need to prepare, classes will be canceled again Monday," she tweeted.

Lightfoot said that though they have been negotiating hard, there has not been "sufficient progress" for a return to class to be announced.

"We will continue to negotiate through the night and will provide an update if we have made substantial progress," she wrote.

Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, has been in talks with the teachers’ union over remote learning and COVID-19 safety protocols.

Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, the Chicago Teachers Union wants the option of returning to remote learning, and most members are refusing to teach in person until an agreement is reached.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has tested positive for COVID-19 and "is experiencing symptoms," her office said in a statement Sunday.

She is recovering at home.

Ocasio-Cortez is fully vaccinated and received a booster shot in the fall, her office said, adding that the congresswoman encourages everyone to get boosted and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abbott Labs to provide 350,000 COVID tests to Chicago schools amid union impasse, governor says

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Abbott Labs will provide Chicago public schools 350,000 COVID-19 tests amid the omicron surge and the impasse between the teacher's unions and the school district to return to classrooms.

"I am committed to seeing our kids and teachers safely in classrooms ASAP. I want to thank the CEO of Abbott, Robert Ford, who was committed to helping get kids back to school by providing rapid antigen tests, along with the team at SHIELD Illinois," Pritzker said in a statement Saturday.

"Together, they turned over every stone ... I appreciate their hard work, along with that of my staff who worked nonstop behind the scene to get this done," he said.

Chicago Public Schools canceled classes last week amid negotiations over remote learning and COVID-19 safety measures.

City leadership, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, had asked teachers to continue in-classroom instruction, but 88% of the Chicago Teachers Union's leadership and 73% of its members voted last week in favor of remote education.

New York orders 40 hospitals to halt elective surgeries

The state of New York has told 40 hospitals they must turn away nonessential, nonurgent elective surgeries for the next two weeks in response to low bed capacity. Most of the hospitals are located in upstate New York.

The determination was made after the hospital locations were added to the list of "high risk regions" by the state department of health due to 90% of beds being occupied according to the seven-day average.

"We will use every available tool to help ensure that hospitals can manage the COVID-19 winter surge," acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement Saturday. "I want to remind New Yorkers that getting vaccinated and boosted remain the best way to protect against serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. Vaccination also protects our hospital system. We cannot return to the early months of the pandemic when hospitals were overwhelmed."

All of the hospitals in three regions -- Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Central New York -- are included in those 40 facilities.