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The best medicine | Chicago Business & Financial News & Analysis

Abby Wagner said “Yes, And” when she took a job at Second City on a whim nearly 13 years ago. Since then, she’s risen from an intern in the accounting department all the way to the vice presidential level, where she oversees Second City’s training centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto. She also attended Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, earning both an MBA and a bachelor’s degree from Loyola.

Though stationed in the back-of-the-house, Wagner has nonetheless internalized the improv performer’s credo. Expanding the company’s physical spaces and special projects requires that she “leap and leap fast and leap without fear. You just go for it.”

Such was the case this past March, when it became abundantly clear that Second City would need to temporarily shutter its theaters and the classes that usually take place inside. It was a frightening moment for the world in general and the arts in particular.

Wagner’s team mobilized quickly in those hectic spring days. Second City had offered virtual writing classes for close to 10 years. Could they move their improv classes online, too? “What we couldn’t do was just take what we do and put it on video. That doesn’t work,” Wagner says. “We had to really think through what we’re delivering, the time frame in which we’re delivering it, and then change all the curriculum.”

In the span of a week, 200 instructors ran hundreds of mock classes on Zoom, adjusting to life behind a laptop with their fellow comics serving as classroom guinea pigs. They recreated, as best they could, the ingredients that make collaborative performance so invigorating. “We could have sat around, as artists love to do, posturing on what works and doesn’t,” Wagner says. “Instead, we just went into beta mode.”

For the time being, the Second City Training Center is the company’s core business. Over 1,000 people per week are logging on to laugh. Virtual coaching is even available for those in search of personalized feedback. Wagner, in turn, learned not to make assumptions about how quickly people can adapt, and how eager they are for honest, creative connection.

Wagner is consistently touched by the notes of appreciation that flood in—Second City is both a beacon and a desperate lifeline. And she’s convinced that Internet improv will stick around long after her training centers resume normal operations. As it turns out, a lot of students taking these classes don’t live in Chicago or Hollywood. “We’ve tapped into this whole world of people who want to learn comedy,” Wagner says. “We’re not going to walk away from that when we’re back in our buildings.”

Learn about Loyola University Chicago’s graduate business programs, including the Next Generation MBA.

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Chicago dentist fears another rush for PPE as COVID resurges

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Lauren Zalay and her colleagues at University Associates in Dentistry in Chicago’s Loop use a lot of personal protective equipment each week.



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“We probably go through 900 gloves a week, 20 to 30 gowns a day and hundreds of masks a week,” she said.

Early on in the pandemic while they were shut down, Zalay says they donated all their supplies to hospitals. When they reopened after two months, they found themselves without their own equipment and nowhere to get it.

“We were shut down for two months. We came back in mid-May and we could not get PPE. We could not get masks, we could not get gowns,” Zalay said.

“What we could get our hands on was very very expensive. Not only are we wearing regular PPE, but way more now during a pandemic.”



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Dentist PPE

Dentist Lauren Zalay with some of her PPE supplies. Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

Zalay said what she found was a lot price-gouging for small businesses who need PPE.

“Items that we used to pay $1 for was now $6, so costs have gone up by 600%,” she said. “Our costs have gone up, and we’re seeing less patients.”

Since then, she’s found an Elk Grove Village-based company that sells wholesale to small businesses.

“Our usual dental suppliers are out of stock or the units are unusually high. The gowns we couldn’t get in June — now it’s the gloves we can’t get in November. The field hospitals should be getting what they need, but that causes problems for smaller operations like us, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, those kinds of businesses.”



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PPE stockpile Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

A company called MRI would make all the difference.

“So I stumbled upon a company that started out as a philanthropy in March. They donated many, many masks in the city when we didn’t have PPE and then they evolved to be able to get the PPE to Chicago and sell it at an extremely low price to help other people,” she said.

“It allows people to buy PPE at the lowest price they can get it without being price-gouged for their offices, and it’s helped us so much. I’m so grateful for them.”

Zalay says she now wants to spread the word.

“I helped an ophthalmologist, a helped a plastic surgeon, I’ve helped some companies who have home care, nurses who go into homes and need PPE.”



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Dr. Zalay looks at X-rays while wearing her PPE. Photo credit WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding

Her supplies are ample now, but Zalay worries about what might happen in the future. Many businesses are stocking up for 6 months or more.

“We have a stock room full of PPE but we never know what’s going to happen into next year,” she said.

She recently teamed up with the philanthropist behind MRI, the PPE supplier.

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Nov. 2 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Illinois public health officials Monday reported 6,222 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19. There were also 20 additional deaths reported.

The statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total test for the past 7 days is 8.1%. There were 68,118 tests reported in the prior 24 hours. The state has now reported 423,502 cases since the pandemic began, and 9,810 fatalities.

Meanwhile, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike had a message for voters going to the polls in person on Tuesday, as COVID-19 continues to surge statewide.

“Please make sure that your mask is securely fitted over both your nose and your mouth, and please make your selections before you get to the polling booth so you can get in and out as quickly as possible,” she said.

Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

5:50 p.m.: Pritzker urges patience with election results, has National Guard ‘in a state of readiness’ in event of unrest

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday urged patience in the coming days as election authorities grapple with historic levels of mail-in ballots, and said the Illinois National Guard is in a “state of readiness,” amid the possibility of election-related unrest.

“It will possibly take until Wednesday, or Thursday, or even Friday to get results for some races in Illinois and in states across the country,” Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus news briefing. “Every vote must be counted, particularly on the national level. It is very important that we are patient with the presidential election. We may very well not know who won the election on Wednesday, let alone Tuesday night.”

Pritzker likened the National Guard’s “state of readiness” leading into Election Day to the action his administration took in September to ensure members were available before the Kentucky attorney general announced charges in the controversial police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Taylor’s killing sparked protests against police brutality earlier this year.

“We want to make sure that the cities, counties that call upon us for help, from the state of Illinois, that we have those resources available to them,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker also warned against sourcing election information solely from social media sites expressing concerns about “foreign actors, specifically Russia, Iran and others, who intend to promote misinformation throughout Election Day, and in the days after.”

“They would like nothing more than to promote conspiracy theories and sow discontent,” Pritzker said.

4:35 p.m.: Park Ridge restaurants fined for defying Pritzker’s order and continuing indoor dining amid soaring rates of COVID-19

Park Ridge restaurants that defy the governor’s indoor dining ban and continue to serve customers inside are being fined daily, a city official said.

Between Thursday and Saturday of last week, the city issued three restaurants a total of $750 in fines for continued non-compliance with the governor’s order, said Jim Brown, director of community preservation and development.

The restaurants were fined $250 for the first violation and $500 for a subsequent violation, Brown

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University of Chicago Medicine looking for 2,000 participants for COVID-19 vaccine trial

University of Chicago Medicine will soon begin testing another potential COVID-19 vaccine, and is looking for up to 2,000 people to enroll in the phase three clinical trial.



Medical assistant Debbie Turrise assists patients driving thru with self administered COVID-19 tests at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. University of Chicago Medicine will soon begin testing another potential COVID-19 vaccine, and is looking for up to 2,000 people to enroll in the phase three clinical trial.


© Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Medical assistant Debbie Turrise assists patients driving thru with self administered COVID-19 tests at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. University of Chicago Medicine will soon begin testing another potential COVID-19 vaccine, and is looking for up to 2,000 people to enroll in the phase three clinical trial.

The trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single dose of a vaccine produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The trial began enrolling 60,000 adults across the world in September.

It’s one of a handful of potential vaccines now in advanced clinical trials in the U.S.

The international trial of the Janssen vaccine was temporarily paused in October after one participant developed an unexplained illness.

“Such pauses are not uncommon in vaccine trials, and late last week the FDA approved the resumption of the trial after an independent committee found the vaccine did not cause the illness,” University of Chicago Medicine leaders wrote in an email sent Monday to faculty, staff and students.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine trial University of Chicago Medicine has offered. Since mid-September, the system has also been enrolling subjects in the Moderna COVE trial.

To participate in the Janssen trial and future research, people can join UChicago Medicine’s registry.

Other large hospital systems in Chicago are also participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is part of the Moderna trial, and Northwestern Medicine, which is part of a trial of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine.

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Hours after Lightfoot announces new COVID-19 restrictions, Birx warns during Chicago visit that closing public spaces won’t be enough

CHICAGO — Just hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions on businesses in response to rising COVID-19 cases, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned that closing public spaces won’t be enough to stop the illness’s spread.



a person wearing a suit and tie: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.


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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Birx said it’s possible some of the recent spread is happening in people’s homes, during family gatherings, as the weather gets colder. She spoke at a news conference following a private meeting with leaders from Rush University System for Health, Northwestern Medicine and the Illinois and Chicago departments of public health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

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“It won’t be as simple as closing public spaces because public spaces … were very safe over the summer and probably remain safe,” Birx said. “This is really something that has happened in the last three to four weeks. What has happened in the last three to four weeks is that people have moved their social gatherings indoors.”

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a curfew for nonessential businesses and no more indoor service at bars that don’t serve food. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also announced tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in suburban counties with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

On Thursday the state announced 4,942 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the statewide rolling positivity rate stood at 5.7%, up from 3.7% two weeks earlier. In Illinois, 2,463 patients were in the hospital with COVID-19, according to Thursday figures, up from 1,812 two weeks earlier.

Birx also said Thursday that she advocated for weekly testing while meeting privately with hospital and public health leaders.

She said, at the news conference, that finding the “silent cases” and asymptomatic cases is “critical in preventing community spread.”

She recommended asking certain community members — such as community college students, teachers or hospital workers — if they would be willing to be tested weekly. She said universities that have tested students weekly have had more success limiting infections than those that only tested students who had been directly exposed to COVID-19 or had symptoms.

Birx said testing, along with mask-wearing and social distancing, are key to getting the spread of COVID-19 under control.

When asked what she’s doing to get President Donald Trump to understand the importance of social distancing and mask-wearing, she said: “My public health guidance is consistent no matter who I’m speaking to. I think you can see there’s a diversity of how people relate to that message.”

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Governor bans indoor dining in Chicago as virus cases surge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases in Chicago prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday to ban indoor dining and bar services and limit the number of people gathering in one place.

The rules taking effect Friday will force diners and bar patrons outdoors and shut down service at 11 p.m. No more than 25 people may gather at one time, or fewer if that number would exceed 25% of room capacity.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said, referring to the start of the pandemic, when health care resources were pushed to the limit because of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.


Chicago, which comprises Region 11 of the state’s 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions, joins six other regions subject to what the Pritzker administration calls “resurgence mitigations.” A day earlier, Pritzker imposed the restrictions on Region 10, Cook County outside of Chicago and Lake County to the north.

After a summer of declining case numbers — Illinois fared better than many other states, particularly in the South and West — they began climbing again in August and jumped precipitously this month. There were 4,000 new infections and 46 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing total cases to 382,985 with 9,568 deaths.

There were 2,758 hospitalized, an 86% increase from a month ago, and both intensive care patients at 595 and the 241 on ventilators represented increases in the 70% range.

Other regions which hit the mitigation bar did so when positive rates of COVD-19 test results topped 8% for three consecutive days. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, said the latest additions, Cook County on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday, have seen the troubling rise in numbers of sick people requiring inpatient treatment as well as a jump in positive test results.

“Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems,” Ezike said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, predicted the action taken by the governor, pointing out that while COVID-19 is not as prevalent in Chicago as during the pandemic’s early days in March, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every nine days.

“COVID is widespread here in Chicago, and we need you to double down on the things that you know work,” Arwady said. “Please as much as you can, if there are interactions you’re having that are not essential, back off on those.”

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Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.

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Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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dentist

Late pilot of downed aircraft was longtime dentist in Dyer, Chicago Heights | Latest Headlines



Plane Crash 394 MAIN

An aerial shot provided by NBC 5 Chicago shows a portion of the crash site on Illinois 394. The plane is in a wooded area and the tail is slightly visible at the top middle of the photo. 




Lawrence Jagmin, the pilot who died after crashing a plane Tuesday in Ford Heights, is remembered by some as a dearly beloved friend and family member.

To others, he was Dr. Jagmin, DDS — a dentist of more than 40 years in the Chicagoland area.

Jagmin, a 70-year-old Frankfort resident, practiced dentistry alongside his brother, Dr. Gary Jagmin, DDS, in Dyer and Chicago Heights, Jagmin Dental of Indiana confirmed.

The brothers first opened their practice in 1977 in Chicago Heights after graduating from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. In 2006, they opened their Dyer office, where Gary Jagmin primarily practiced, Jagmin Dental’s website shows.

Multiple attempts to reach the Jagmins’ family were unsuccessful.

Ken Brodnick, a friend of Lawrence Jagmin, told NBC 5 Chicago, a news partner of The Times, the late 70-year-old was “an awesome dentist” and “a fervent aircraft enthusiast,” adding that Jagmin had a profound impact on his life.

“He was a straight-up class-A fellow,” Brodnick told NBC 5.

“Larry Jagmin was one of the most unique individuals I know,” Larry Heidemann, Jagmin’s neighbor of about 20 years, told NBC 5. Heidemann described Jagmin as a man of many skills and talents, a Harley-Davidson enthusiast and “a unique individual and an outstanding neighbor,” NBC 5 reported.

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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Oct. 16 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

The state also said the seven day-average of coronavirus tests coming back as positive has climbed to 5.1%, surpassing a threshold recommended by the World Health Organization for safely reopening economies.

The record comes as the state also reports the highest number of test results returned in a 24-hour period. The 87,759 results reported Friday outstrips the previous high of 74,286 on Sept. 19. There were 2,529 newly confirmed cases that day.

There also were 38 more fatalities reported Friday, bringing the statewide death toll to 9,165 since the pandemic began. In all, there have been 336,174 known cases of COVID-19 in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that all students will continue with remote learning when the second quarter starts in November but that some of the district’s “most vulnerable” children will have the option to begin returning to schools before the end of the calendar year.

In explaining their rational for offering in-person classes first to pre-kindergarten and some special education students, CPS officials cited enrollment figures they released Friday that show a drop of 34% in total preschool enrollment from last year.

Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

5:40 p.m.: Lake County moved off COVID-19 warning status, but officials warn return to all-remote schooling is a possibility

Lake County was removed from orange COVID-19 warning status by the Illinois Department of Public Health Friday, and is now the only county along the Wisconsin state line not so situated, according to department’s website.

While the reclassification may give residents a temporary sigh of relief, Hannah Goering, the marketing and communications manager for the Lake County Health Department, said it could be short-lived.

5:25 p.m.: COVID-19 numbers are rising in Illinois. How worried should the Chicago area be?

Illinois just announced a record number of new COVID-19 cases. Positivity rates for coronavirus testing are up too. So are hospitalizations and deaths.

But a deeper look at the data can soften the sense of alarm somewhat — at least for the Chicago area, where many pandemic metrics have remained steady for months until some recent upticks. And the state as a whole is still in better shape than its neighbors on most of those same statistics.

As a pandemic-weary public braces for winter, the latest Illinois figures have prompted researchers and public health officials to offer a mix of warnings and reassurance. They worry a second surge may be starting in Illinois while also noting that the shifting pandemic threatens some areas more than others.

3:45 p.m.: Kane, Will counties back on state COVID-19 warning list; Kane health director outlines ‘concerning’ trends

Kane and Will counties have returned to the state’s list of those showing “warning signs” of increased coronavirus risk.

They were among 34 counties statewide on the list Friday, based on measures of the virus’ spread. Their addition to the warning list came the same day Illinois public health officials announced a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases for the second

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COVID-19 numbers are rising in Illinois. How worried should the Chicago area be?

Illinois just announced a record number of new COVID-19 cases. Positivity rates for coronavirus testing are up too. So are hospitalizations and deaths.



a group of people standing on a sidewalk: Wearing masks to protect from transmitting COVID-19, people stand in line for early voting at Truman College in Chicago on Oct. 14, 2020.


© Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Wearing masks to protect from transmitting COVID-19, people stand in line for early voting at Truman College in Chicago on Oct. 14, 2020.

But a deeper look at the data can soften the sense of alarm somewhat — at least for the Chicago area, where many pandemic metrics have remained steady for months until some recent upticks. And the state as a whole is still in better shape than its neighbors on most of those same statistics.

As a pandemic-weary public braces for winter, the latest Illinois figures have prompted researchers and public health officials to offer a mix of warnings and reassurance. They worry a second surge may be starting in Illinois while also noting that the shifting pandemic threatens some areas more than others.

“Chicago is doing a little better than downstate Illinois, Illinois is doing a little better than Wisconsin, etc. But broadly, COVID is not going well,” Chicago’s public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, said in a Facebook Live session on Thursday.

A day earlier, Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters the figures were a reminder of the importance of wearing masks and avoiding close contact with others.

“To date, Illinois has had relative success keeping this virus at bay,” Pritzker said, “and we’re still doing better than many of our neighbors. But we can’t let up.”

At the same time, researchers caution that — even seven months into the pandemic — its trajectory remains hard to predict. Without frequent, random testing to gauge the virus’s true spread, the public is left with a buffet of data options that have various quirks and can be tricky to interpret.

Here are the figures researchers cite most often, how the Chicago area measures vs. other parts of Illinois, and reasons for concern as fall moves into winter:

Case counts are rising, but …

Researchers and public health officials agree there’s reason to be nervous in the greater Chicago region. Look no further than the count of new COVID-19 cases reported each day.

The Chicago region — defined by the state as Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, McHenry and Will counties — peaked this spring at roughly 2,350 reported cases per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

After “bending the curve,” that average fell below 500. Then cases began increasing slowly this summer. That growth eased a bit in September but took a sharper turn higher this month. The latest case figures have averaged more than 1,800 daily.

In other words, we saw a dramatic drop in cases, only to see much of that improvement wiped out.

There are caveats. To start with, assume more people have been infected than these numbers show, as some people never develop symptoms and many don’t get tested. In Chicago, according to Arwady, roughly 3% of residents have officially tested positive

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