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Residents in state facilities still face uncertainties over COVID and the holidays

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State of IL
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Floors or cottages may be isolated if there are cases of COVID among staff or residents.

As COVID numbers have declined recently, many families are hoping for a more normal holiday season. But for some families, that's a big challenge.

For those with family members in congregate care facilities, holiday plans remain uncertain. While Illinois re-opened in June, centers housing the disabled and mentally ill may still have to go on lockdown if there are COVID exposures.

Rita Winkeler, with the Murray Parents Association, said many families are trying to stay positive for the upcoming holiday season. Winkeler said residents at Murray Center, like her son Mark, have faced a lot of uncertainty as any COVID exposure can result in quarantines for some or all residents, many of whom may not understand what's going on -- especially when the situation changes so quickly.

"And so now every day I wake up and I call and say, are we okay? Do we have COVID today? And then we go from there," she said.

Workers at facilities like the Murray Center are required to be vaccinated. However, Governor JB Pritzker's vaccine mandate is being challenged in court.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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