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Ask The Newsroom: Long-Term Care Facilities, Prisons, Nursing School, Eviction Moratorium

The Illinois Newsroom team is answering questions to help Illinois residents navigate this unprecedented time. Have a question you want answered? Ask here.

Below you’ll find answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccines, schools and their response to the pandemic and business and government aid. 

Please note: This information is accurate as of March 23, 2021.

Long-Term Care Facilities

Q: If most of the hospitalizations and deaths are coming from long-term care facilities, why hasn’t the government tried to focus on those rather than blaming people for not wearing masks?

The Illinois Department of Public Health has released recommendations for long-term care facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19 including restricting visits and group activities, closing dining rooms and screening facility employees. 

As of Feb. 17, the total number of cases in long-term care facilities is 74,147 with 9,656 deaths, according to the department. 

According to the COVID Tracking Project, while less than 1% of America’s population lives in long-term care facilities, they account for 36% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths.

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask to protect yourself and others. 

 – Farrah Anderson, Illinois Public Media

Q: What is the schedule for delivering the vaccines to the large medical centers in Chicago?

As of Feb. 11, the state of Illinois has administered 1,549,108 vaccines out of 2,385,950 total doses.

Hospitals are currently receiving and administering the most vaccines throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois.  But data on delivery schedules and exact vaccines provided to medical centers is not available. 

Dr. Marielle Fricchione from the Chicago Department of Health’s Immunization Program reported in an online update that vaccine supply is still limited but steadily increasing. 

However, many pharmacies and outpatient centers have begun administering more vaccines to people in Phase 1B. 

To find where vaccines are being administered, the Illinois Department of Health has a map and list of all locations throughout the state.

 – Farrah Anderson, Illinois Public Media

Nursing School

Q: I need an update on getting a license for a nursing student that has graduated and is waiting for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to open.

The National Council Licensure Examination, NCLEX, is open year-round, according to the National Councils of State Boards for Nursing.

Eligibility for the exam is determined by when the required documents are first submitted to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, as stated in the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin for 2021

After the department approves the application for licensure, an email containing the authorization to test will be sent, the bulletin states.

Once the authorization is received, the nursing student can register for the exam via the online website or by telephone.

The bulletin also says that authorization will expire after a certain period of time—usually 90 days—and the exam must be taken within the time frame stated in the authorization.

First-time test-takers will be offered an appointment within 30 days of registering for an appointment. Repeat candidates will be offered an appointment within 45 days, the bulletin states.

 – Vivian La, Illinois Public Media

Moratorium Eviction Extension

Q: Is the governor going to extend the moratorium on evictions from March 6?

Governor Pritzker extended the residential eviction moratorium another 30 days on March 5. The moratorium now goes through April 3.

His latest executive order provides additional protection for tenants as well, to Executive Order 2021-05

The order states that landlords cannot pursue legal action against tenants as long as tenants declare their inability to pay and don’t pose “a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property,” the order states.

To be eligible, tenants must earn less than $99,000 per year if filing taxes as a single person or $198,000 if filing as married taxpayers.

 – Vivian La, Illinois Public Media

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