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Illinois quick hits: Respiratory virus cases down; artifacts confiscated

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Respiratory virus cases down

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that the latest data continues to show the spread of respiratory viruses is declining across the state.

The state’s overall respiratory illness level decreased from low to minimal in the most recent available CDC data and the state is also now at a low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Jan. 27.

No Illinois counties were at high level for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last week.

Artifacts confiscated

Federal agents are making an effort to break up a multi-billion dollar industry of smugglers and looters who are attempting to profit from other countries’ cultural heritage.

Chicago’s Homeland Security investigators recently displayed 13 artifacts from El Salvador that were shipped to Florida and destined for Illinois. Some of the artifacts are between 800 and 1,700 years old.

The items will be sent back to El Salvador and could potentially end up in a museum.

Unemployment tax forms ready

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced that tax forms are now available for claimants who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2023.

Claimants who collected benefits last year need the 1099-G tax form to complete their state and federal tax returns. Claimants who opted not to receive their 1099-G tax form electronically will receive a hard copy paper form via regular mail at the address on file.

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