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John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, located at 1969 West Ogden Avenue in the Illinois Medical District.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Feds investigate breach affecting hospitals

Plus, an architectural tour along the Lakefront Trail. Here’s what you need to know today.

Good afternoon! These “goth gardens” almost make me wish I had a backyard. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. The feds are investigating a data breach that affected 1.2 million Cook County public health patients

The massive data hack happened last year between March 27 and May 2 and impacted 14 million people across the country, my colleagues Dan Mihalopoulos, Kristen Schorsch and Jon Seidel report.

Hackers gained access to Perry Johnson & Associates, a Nevada-based medical transcription company that has a contract with Cook County, and stole personal information that included birth dates, Social Security numbers and medical test results.

Investigators asked Cook County Health, one of the biggest public health systems in the nation, to turn over “any and all information related to the data security incident” involving Perry Johnson & Associates, according to a grand jury subpoena.

Court records show Cook County Health also has been hit with multiple lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court and federal court, including one that accuses officials of “failure to exercise reasonable care in safeguarding and protecting” private information for patients and “failure to promptly notify” them of the breach.

The class-action complaint notes the county health system learned of the problem in July 2023 but did not notify patients for three months that their personal data “was in the hands of cybercriminals.” [WBEZ]

2. The Democratic National Convention is expected to drive up hotel rates this summer — even more than Lollapalooza

The average rate for a hotel within a one-mile radius of downtown during the DNC is $534.88 a night, my colleague Abby Miller reports for the Chicago Sun-Times.

A search of downtown hotel rates during the city’s three major summer events found the DNC was the only occasion for which some daily hotel rates climb above $1,000. The highest downtown hotel rates for Lollapalooza were capped at nearly $900, and NASCAR weekend rates are currently below $600, the Sun-Times reports.

In June 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel and the tourism industry at large — Chicago’s hotel occupancy climbed to 88.3%. June 2023 was at 76%. The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association doesn’t expect occupancy to fully recover until 2028.

“Our reliance has really increased on these major events supporting our hotels,” Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the association, told the Sun-Times. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. NASCAR street and sidewalk closures began today

Ida B. Wells Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will remain shut down until about July 18, and wider closures begin June 27, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

City officials released a full breakdown of the street closures earlier this year.

The set-up and breakdown time has been reduced to 19 days — from 25 last year — as race organizers learned from the process, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

The race will happen July 6-7 in and around Grant Park. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Has performing arts employment in Illinois recovered from COVID-19?

New data show the number of Illinois arts jobs has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, but the sector is slowly staging a comeback, my colleague Mike Davis reports for WBEZ.

The analysis also shows that growth in Illinois’ overall arts sector is outpacing that of other states, in the Midwest and beyond.

“When we look at the relative concentration of the arts and culture sector in Illinois, it ranks at the top of all Midwestern states,” Patricia Mullaney-Loss, a social science analyst in the office of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, told WBEZ.

But about 1,000 fewer people report being employed by theater companies, dance companies and the symphony compared to 2019. Pandemic-related shutdowns lasted well into 2021 for these organizations. [WBEZ]

5. Music venues shine with roots, rap, blues and soul. Here are 10 concerts to see.

Big names like Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones and Justin Timberlake are coming to town this month, but there’s so much more to Chicago’s concert scene.

WBEZ contributor Mark Guarino put together a list of 10 shows that are more intimate and feature performers at the top of their craft.

The list includes a release show for Galaxy Francis, the Chicago-based rapper, singer and producer formerly known as L.A. VanGogh.

There’s also Roberta Lea, who has been making music as a member of the Black Opry, an artist collective for Black roots musicians. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Hunter Biden’s criminal trial could go to the jury as soon as today. [AP]
  • Here are takeaways from the European parliamentary elections, which saw a surge in support for the far right. [NPR]
  • An Israeli raid freed four hostages and killed at least 274 Palestinians in Gaza. [AP]
  • Need a Father’s Day gift? Here are some last-minute ideas. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

Whether you’re biking, running or pushing a stroller, Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail has no shortage of sights to see. On one side there’s the always-changing beauty of Lake Michigan, and on the other there’s the cliff wall of apartment and condo buildings, office high-rises, museums, fountains and Soldier Field.

Other structures with intriguing histories also populate the path. WBEZ contributor Dennis Rodkin took a look at their stories, arranged from south to north. To stay focused and keep you moving, the list only included sites on the path, not those you can see from the trail.

Start your bike ride at the South Shore Cultural Center, where future President Barack Obama and future first lady Michelle Obama held their wedding reception in 1992. Then, make your way past sites such as the Eugene Williams Memorial and Columbia Yacht Club. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

The summer movie and TV seasons are upon us, which has me wondering, what are you looking forward to watching?

I enjoyed Hit Man over the weekend and am excited to see if House of the Dragon and The Bear live up to their past seasons.

Feel free to email me, and your response may be included in the newsletter this week.

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