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 […]

IDPH says it won’t renew COVID testing contract with Reditus

PEKIN — The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday it will not renew its lucrative COVID testing contract with Reditus Labs. The Interstate Center testing site in Bloomington will close March 31. Reditus Labs CEO Aaron Rossi was indicted last week on federal tax fraud charges. He also faces a civil lawsuit in Tazewell […]

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 […]

State files appeal to Supreme Court on mask mandate ruling

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to review the state’s mask mandate and other COVID-19 mitigation orders for K-12 schools on an expedited schedule. Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a petition for appeal Tuesday, along with a motion for an emergency stay of a Sangamon County judge’s order to block enforcement of […]

Legislative panel suspends COVID-19 mitigations in schools

SPRINGFIELD – A legislative panel on Tuesday voted to suspend the latest version of COVID-19 mitigations for public schools, saying in part that those rules are still being litigated in a state appellate court. The Joint Committee on Administrative rules voted 9-0, with two members voting “present,” to object to the rules and suspend them […]

Pritzker: ‘Stay tuned’ for new guidance on masks

SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans should stay tuned for an announcement on the state’s indoor mask mandate, Gov. JB Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday, although he declined to say specifically what changes might be coming. “I think I’ve said over the last few press conferences that I really believe that we ought to be […]

State appeals court’s order on school COVID-19 mask, vaccine mandates

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration are asking a state appellate court to set aside a lower court order from late Friday that invalidated the mask and vaccine mandates that the state-imposed last year for public schools. On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow granted a temporary restraining […]

Illinois begins focusing more on COVID-19 hospitalization data as cases decline

CHICAGO — Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is cautiously optimistic the Omicron wave of the pandemic has peaked. Both hospitalizations and the number of people requiring intensive care have fallen daily over the last week. “In the first two weeks of 2022, 14,000 new people have gotten their first vaccine dose every single day,” Pritzker said […]

COVID surge prompts multiple state responses

SPRINGFIELD – A continuing sharp spike in COVID-19 cases being driven by the omicron variant has pushed the state’s hospital capacity to its limits and is prompting the state to bring in additional health care workers from other states and countries. Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that more than 2,000 additional health care workers have […]

First case of omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Illinois

URBANA – Health officials reported late Tuesday that the omicron COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in a case in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health said the case was confirmed in a Chicago resident. That patient had been in contact with a person from another state who […]

State ramping up vaccine booster campaign

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday urged eligible Illinoisans to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and called on skilled nursing facilities to make booster shots available to patients and staff by Thanksgiving. Currently anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine and is over 65 years of age or at higher risk of COVID-19 because […]

As Pritzker admin. pushes for nursing home reform, report details weaknesses in oversight

This story has been updated. In the early days, weeks and months of the pandemic, COVID-19 ravaged nursing homes, killing thousands of elderly and frail residents and forcing the isolation of thousands more. Though long-term care facilities statewide locked down, forbidding outside visits from family members, staff from the Illinois Department of Public Health charged […]

Judge rules Vermilion County teachers, parents must follow state COVID-19 rules in schools

DANVILLE — Protestors from the group Vermilion County Health Advocates stood outside the Vermilion County Courthouse on Friday afternoon holding signs and wearing t-shirts saying “Unmask our Children” while cars honked in support.  Meanwhile — inside the courthouse — Judge Karen Wall ruled against both Danville District 118 teachers and parents from Hoopeston Area School […]

Illinois Man Dies Of Rabies After Apparent Bat Bite

SPRINGFIELD — A northern Illinois man has died of rabies after apparently being bitten by a bat — the first human case of rabies in the state since 1954. The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday in a release that the diagnosis has been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. […]