Office landlords use health pledges to woo leery tenants
The seal denoting the WELL Health-Safety Rating is displayed on the Sterling Bay-owned office building at 210 N. Carpenter St.Provided
Many office workers haven’t seen their desks in months. With vaccines offering hope for subduing the pandemic, a nagging thought is commonplace: Once there’s a general return to work, how safe will that place be?
Some landlords, worried about unused space or slack demand, are taking extra, and sometimes expensive, steps to assure tenants about cleanliness and health. They are getting third-party validations that their practices promote well-being. Returning tenants can expect to see those certifications enshrined in decals or plaques to make them less anxious about working away from home again.
Prolific Chicago developer Sterling Bay is an example of one approach. For six of its office properties spanning the Loop, River West and Fulton Market, Sterling Bay has attained the WELL Health-Safety Rating. The developer is among the first here to obtain that rating, administered by the for-profit International WELL Building Institute, for a portfolio of its properties.
Others are following a more rigorous program from the same institute that confers what’s called WELL Certification. It’s far more expensive than the health-safety rating, potentially setting back the owner of an office skyscraper more than $100,000. It requires on-site verification around 10 core concepts, ranging from air and water quality to whether there is fresh fruit in the building or quiet spaces to reduce stress.
It goes well beyond controlling a pandemic. But supporters say COVID-19 has raised awareness about health in the workplace and that landlords have to meet new standards to compete for tenants.
Read David Roeder’s full report here.
10:24 a.m. COVID-19 vaccines might be tweaked if variants get worse
The makers of COVID-19 vaccines are figuring out how to tweak their recipes against worrisome virus mutations — and regulators are looking to flu as a blueprint if and when the shots need an update.
“It’s not really something you can sort of flip a switch, do overnight,” cautioned Richard Webby, who directs a World Health Organization flu center from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Viruses mutate constantly and it takes just the right combination of particular mutations to escape vaccination. But studies are raising concern that first-generation COVID-19 vaccines don’t work as well against a mutant that first emerged in South Africa as they do against other versions circulating around the world.
The good news: Many of the new COVID-19 vaccines are made with new, flexible technology that’s easy to upgrade. What’s harder: Deciding if the virus has mutated enough that it’s time to modify vaccines — and what changes to make.
“When do you pull the trigger?” asked Norman Baylor, a former Food and Drug Administration vaccine chief. “This is a moving target right now.”
Read the full Associated Press story here.
8:35 a.m. Illinois COVID vaccination rate triples compared to January
As Illinois ramps up its inoculation effort, public health data shows vaccines were administered in the first half of February at triple the rate for the same period in January.
An average of about 57,000 shots were given per day in the first half of February, compared to an average of about 19,000 per day for the first 14 days of January, according to figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
But a shortage of vaccine shipments from the federal government means everyone eligible for a dose won’t be able to make an appointment, Gov. JB Pritzker said Friday. The vaccination rate was expected to continue to increase as the federal government ships vaccine doses in larger quantities.
Another 59,000 people on Saturday were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Illinois, raising the total doses administered to 1,783,345, according to the health department. Nearly a quarter-million of those doses were administered at long-term health facilities.
In Illinois, 414,301 people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus since inoculations began mid-December. That’s 3.25% of the state’s 12.7 million people.
Read Mitchell Armentrout’s full story here.
Source by chicago.suntimes.com