Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle boned up on history before writing her own chapter battling pandemic
During a frank conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times, Preckwinkle talked about the county’s response to the virus, as well as how it has impacted her personally.

Friday, April 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times
by Rachel Hinton

Toni Preckwinkle was more prepared than most for the upheaval unleashed by the coronavirus – thanks in part to her habit of scouring the shelves of her neighborhood book store.

In late December or early January, perusing the stacks at Powell’s Books in Hyde Park, the Cook County Board president happened upon Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History.

She bought the book on the deadly influenza pandemic to be ready, even though she had little idea of the “nightmare” ahead.

“We started hearing about the pandemic in China, of course, in December,” Preckwinkle said. “So it was on the remainder shelf at Powell’s, and I said, ‘Well, this is coming, so I should read this book.’”

And she soon sounded the alarm, weeks before the looming storm was on most residents’ radar.

She’d bring the sobering book to work, and call for meetings – even as some employees were “snickering” about the boss’s concern, her chief spokesman, Nick Shields, admitted.

Few are laughing now.

During a frank conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday, Preckwinkle talked about the county’s response to the virus, as well as how it has impacted her personally — from checking in on her daughter, a nurse whose patients are immune-compromised, to watching episodes of “The Crown” and “The Letter for the King” as a break from a bleak reality.

About two-thirds of the employees in Preckwinkle’s office are working from home, thanks to the shelter-at-home demands sparked by the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.

“Social distancing in effect” signs posted at the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting room last month.

“Social distancing in effect” signs posted at the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting room as Board President Toni Preckwinkle held a special meeting last month. Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

But Preckwinkle and two other employees still come to her offices at the county’s main building at 118 N. Clark St.

Shields said a “handful” of employees have the virus though none, to his knowledge, have died from it.

Preckwinkle is holding meetings and conferences on-line as so many county residents are also now forced to do.

“We’ve been doing these Zoom things, which my staff is helping me do,” Preckwinkle said. “I don’t like it.”

When Shields interjected to set the record straight — saying that the county is actually using Microsoft Teams, not Zoom — Preckwinkle thanked him wryly for the correction.

The Hyde Park Democrat is navigating the crisis much like everyone else — of course with the considerably more demanding addition of her government duties.

RELATED

APB for PPE: County seeks donations of masks, gloves, other personal protective equipment

County to help small businesses, nonprofits access federal relief funds to weather coronavirus storm

Lightfoot marks one-year anniversary of landslide victory

Coronavirus’ impact on Chicago recalls the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19

And like virtually everyone else, Preckwinkle has been personally affected by it.

A friend of hers lost an aunt, and two of the woman’s cousins were in the hospital. Thursday morning, Preckwinkle got a call that Archbishop Lucius Hall, founder and pastor of First Church of Love and Faith and a leader in gospel circles, had died. His South Side church lost six of its parishioners this week, Preckwinkle said.

“We will not get through this without knowing people who are sick and knowing people who have passed away,” Preckwinkle said.

There’s also her daughter, a nurse at a dialysis center who’s been going to work every day and yells at her “to be careful,” the board president said. Preckwinkle worries like any parent would, especially considering the health concerns of her daughter’s patients.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker an other elected and health officials give their daily coronavirus update on March 10, 2020.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker an other elected and health officials give their daily coronavirus update on March 10, 2020. Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

As for not appearing regularly at Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily COVID-19 briefings, Preckwinkle said simply — and reiterated when pressed — “those are the governor’s press conferences.”

A spokeswoman for the governor said invites to Preckwinkle, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, go out “probably at least one a week or every other week” and depend on “what we’re doing that’s statewide or city based” or “what message we’re sharing that day.”

And the frosty relationship between Preckwinkle and the woman who beat her in last year’s mayoral race has apparently been suspended like so many other things.

Preckwinkle said she spoke with the mayor in the last week about “some of the challenges the city faced around school closures.” The chiefs of staff for the two municipal leaders talk on a regular basis, the board president said.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The mayor drew the ire of many when she ordered the lakefront and public spaces closed – and spawned a social media barrage of memes depicting a scowling Lightfoot standing guard over everything from the Lakefront Trail to the Last Supper.

Preckwinkle has avoided all that by declining to shut down the county’s forest preserves, saying she hasn’t seen much crowding.

But like Lightfoot, Preckwinkle has held her own news conferences on a variety of coronavirus-related topics: making sure people complete their Census forms, providing small business relief, describing the state of the county’s healthcare system, among others.

Preckwinkle said she is focused on the care the county provides and on making sure there are as few people in the “petri dish,” or the Cook County Jail, as possible.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle holds a news conference

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle holds a news conference to talk about how the county will help businesses hit hard by coronavirus containment efforts last month. Brian Rich/Sun-Times file

The potential increase in uninsured patients needing intensive care during the pandemic is creating a “tremendous financial challenge” for the county by exacerbating one of Cook County Health’s growing problems: charity care, or health care the county provides but for which it’s not paid.

For the 2020 fiscal year, there was already a $600 million charity care cloud looming over the finances of the health system — and the county at large.

When asked if the health system’s finances could themselves be a COVID-19 casualty, Preckwinkle said “we hope not.”

“We will, as we have in the past, care for the majority of the uninsured,” Preckwinkle said.



Recent Headlines

Cook County chief judge pushes reopening dates back
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Friday, May 29, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Suburban restaurants open for outdoor dining Friday. Here’s what to know.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Kaegi to cut assessments on homes, condos by 8 to 12 percent
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Why is My Park Closed? Some Chicagoans Complain of Losing Access to Parks That Should Be Open
Thursday, May 28, 2020
wttw

Here’s what will be different Friday, when most of the state (but not Chicago) moves into phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

First two Cook County judges test positive for COVID-19
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

First 2 Cook County Judges Test Positive for COVID-19
Thursday, May 28, 2020
WTTW News

Here’s what will be different Friday, when most of the state (but not Chicago) moves into phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Chicago Tribune

The Spin: Nation, Illinois, Cook County reach grim coronavirus death milestones |
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Tribune

How COVID will change your CTA ride
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County M.E.’s autopsies in less than five months surpass entire 2019 tally: ‘We do not believe that these deaths had to occur’
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

2 exonerated men file federal suits claiming Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors framed them for murder as teens
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Peoples Gas encourages customers to apply for financial assistance
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Folks Are In Limbo’: Cook County Court Shutdown Could Stretch Into July
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
WBEZ News

Chicago-area municipalities to rely on counties for CARE Act money
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
The Daily Line

Local governments set to get small slice of $4.9B coronavirus relief package headed to Illinois
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
The Daily Line

Cook County death toll in less than five months surpasses entire 2019 tally: ‘We do not believe that these deaths had to occur’
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County courts extend COVID-19 precautions into July, further delaying most criminal, civil cases
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP