OSF HealthCare Requiring All Employees To Receive COVID Vaccines By End of September

PEORIA — OSF HealthCare now says it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September. Previously, the health care organization recommended vaccines, but left the final decision up to individuals. OSF chief operating officer Mike Cruz said the health care group is “ethically obligated” to be vigilant about patient […]

What It Takes To Get To Tokyo To Cover The Olympics

TOKYO — When anyone traveling to Japan for the Olympics touches down in Tokyo, they are immediately separated from everyone else on their plane and whisked away to complete hours of COVID-19 testing and other entry procedures. Then, at least for journalists, three days of strict quarantine begins. The hotel that NPR journalists are staying […]

Theaters Are Reopening But Some Aren’t Sure What Comes Next

MONTICELLO — Theater companies around central Illinois are gearing up for summer shows and new seasons, but some directors say they aren’t sure what they’ll do after their summer shows as Illinois reopens.  Paul Strain is president of the board of DLO Musical Theatre in Danville. He says his company is producing their youth and […]

As Iowa Opens Up, COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Continue To Slow

IOWA CITY — On a hot evening at the Broadway Neighborhood Center in Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, student volunteers set up a mobile COVID vaccination clinic among the apartment complexes that house many immigrant and refugee families. But the clinic struggled to attract residents. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2021/07/se-vaccineupdateweb.mp3 Listen to this story here. Andrew […]

COVID Cases In Parts Of Missouri And Arkansas Surge To Levels Not Seen Since Winter

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In Springfield, Mo., firefighters are giving vaccine shots. Churches are scrambling to schedule vaccine clinics. Students and staff at summer school at the public schools are back to wearing masks. Dozens of traveling nurses are due to arrive at one of the city’s two biggest hospitals over the coming weeks; extra ventilators […]

Unprecedented Unemployment Deficit Threatens To ‘Cripple’ Businesses, Claimants

SPRINGFIELD – Since economic shutdowns began and COVID-19 death counts started to rise in March 2020, national unemployment rates have hovered at historically high numbers, stressing state unemployment systems left dealing with an unprecedented number of claims. In Illinois, that’s led to a deficit in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund – or the pool of […]

Only One Elder Care Facility In Champaign-Urbana Is Requiring Staff Vaccinations

URBANA – More than 10,000 residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to state data. But in Champaign County, only one long-term care facility is currently mandating that its staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Clark-Lindsey, a long-term care facility and nursing home in Urbana, […]

State Courts Prepare To Resume Normal Operations

SPRINGFIELD – State courts in Illinois are preparing to return to normal operations after nearly 16 months of operating under special rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday issued two new rules that call for easing social distancing requirements and reimposing requirements for speedy trials in criminal and juvenile […]

Are Face Masks Here To Stay?

DEKALB — The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention states that those who are fully vaccinated can forego wearing a mask except when required by law or other regulations. The World Health Organization recommends that everyone wears a mask regardless of their vaccination status. A Northern Illinois University psychology professor says some people are just […]

Urbana Hospitals Not Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine For Employees Yet

URBANA – Urbana’s two hospitals are not requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccinations are strongly encouraged. At OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, 64% of all staff – including leadership, frontline workers and support staff – are fully vaccinated, according to Deborah McCarter, the hospital’s vice president and chief nursing officer. A […]

Pritzker Warns COVID-19 Delta Variant Could Dominate In Illinois By Fall

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker stressed the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations Monday as positivity rates and hospitalizations continued to decline but variants of the virus have proven to be more transmissible and dangerous to those who are not vaccinated. The governor cited a central Illinois youth camp that has led to more than 85 associated […]

As Vaccination Rates Decline, Some Central Illinois Employers Look To Incentives

DANVILLE, Ill. – In the Danville Stadium parking lot on Two-Dollar Tuesday this week, National Guard members filled out brand-new COVID-19 vaccination cards. In exchange for getting the vaccine, residents received a coupon for a free hotdog and a non-alcoholic drink.  Almost half of all Illinois residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But some […]

U Of I Issues COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement For Fall Students

URBANA – The University of Illinois plans a return to near normal class schedules in the fall, and campus life free of face masks, social distancing and regular testing for the coronavirus. But university officials say that’s only possible with COVID-19 vaccinations for everybody. U of I President Tim Killeen announced the vaccination requirement for […]