Audit finds IDPH failed to intervene in early days of LaSalle Veterans’ Home outbreak

SPRINGFIELD – A new report from the state’s auditor general found more fault with the Illinois Department of Public Health in its response to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans home than was found by a previous watchdog report that investigated the matter. A November 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home resulted in […]

U of I System President Killeen diagnosed with COVID-19

URBANA – The president of the University of Illinois system is working from home after testing positive for COVID-19. In a statement to the university, Tim Killeen says he tested positive for the virus on Saturday. He says his symptoms are ‘relatively’ mild. The 70-year-old says he is fully vaccinated and has had two booster shots. […]

Pritzker lifts public transportation face covering requirement

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker officially lifted the state requirement that face coverings be worn on public transportation Wednesday after a federal judge overturned the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask mandate. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District of Florida ruled on Monday that the federal mask mandate was unlawful since […]

These airlines are dropping mask mandates after a federal judge’s ruling

Updated April 19, 2022 at 8:14 AM ET WASHINGTON — U.S. airlines are lifting mask mandates, after a federal judge in Florida ruled against the Biden administration’s mandatory mask mandate for travelers on planes and other public forms of transportation. Monday’s ruling quickly reshaped U.S. air travel, as a cascade of carriers from Delta and […]

Paid COVID-19 leave for vaccinated educators signed into law

SPRINGFIELD – Public school, community college and public university employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are now entitled to paid administrative leave for any days they miss this school year due to coronavirus-related issues. Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday signed House Bill 1167 into law, which provides those employees as many days off as needed to […]

How funding cuts for COVID-19 tests and treatments could worsen health disparities

INDIANAPOLIS — At the start of the pandemic, many wished there was a pill people could swallow to make a COVID-19 infection go away. Two years later, we have not just one, but two of those pills, in addition to other outpatient and inpatient treatments. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/03/covidfunding-feature-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. The federal government established […]

COVID-19 leave for vaccinated teachers clears General Assembly

SPRINGFIELD – A bill that allows teachers and other school and university employees or contractors who are fully vaccinated to take paid administrative leave if they have to miss work due to coronavirus-related issues cleared the Illinois Senate Thursday and will soon be sent to Gov. JB Pritzker. House Bill 1167, by Rep. Janet Yang […]

Two years in: The pandemic through the eyes of a health care worker’s spouse

INDIANAPOLIS — Nicole Oberhelman’s house is small, cozy and brims with character. Every corner tells a story. A painting of the first dance from her wedding is next to the TV. Up until early March, Christmas decorations were still on display. The holiday was extra special this year, because it was the closest to a […]

After a grueling tenure, Dr. Ngozi Ezike steps down from her Illinois public health job

CHICAGO – Not many people noticed when Dr. Ngozi Ezike took over as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, even though she was the first Black woman to hold the position. It’s not that they didn’t care; most just didn’t know. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s office is responsible for hundreds of appointments – people […]

Obama tests positive for COVID-19, says he’s ‘feeling fine’

Former President Barack Obama says he tested positive for the coronavirus. But he’s feeling relatively healthy and his wife, Michelle, tested negative. Obama says on Twitter, “I’ve had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise.” Obama is encouraging more Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the declining infection […]

The White House has a new plan for COVID-19 aimed at getting things back to normal

WASHINGTON — The White House is unveiling a new roadmap for the COVID-19 pandemic, one that envisions life going back to normal after two years of crisis, providing for people to get tested and treat the disease, while staying vigilant for new variants and outbreaks. “We are no longer going to let COVID-19 dictate how […]

IDPH Director Ezike to step down March 14

Pritzker declares March 1 ‘Dr. Ngozi Ezike Day’ in Illinois SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will resign on March 14 after three years leading the agency and two years navigating a deadly pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 32,000 Illinoisans.  Ezike, who was appointed IDPH director […]

5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s first formal State of the Union address focused on Ukraine, inflation, the coronavirus pandemic and a four-point “Unity Agenda.” He urged world unity in standing up to Russia, listed ways he’s trying to address rising prices (even if they will likely have limited to no effect in the short term) and […]