Illinois Doctors Encourage Wearing Masks

Jul 31, 2020
A woman wears a face mask while shopping.
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With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Illinois doctors are urging people to wear masks in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Doctor Robert Panton, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, said wearing a mask is about protecting the community.

Jackson County Reports Record Number Of COVID-19 Cases

Jul 27, 2020

Jackson County reported record numbers of COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

With 31 cases reported on Saturday and 38 on Sunday, the department issued a public health alert directed toward young people. Almost seventy percent of recent cases have been in people in their teens to mid-twenties. The department warns that younger people need to take action immediately to halt the spread of the coronavirus..

Yearly Physicals Still Critical During A Pandemic

Jul 15, 2020
Crossed arms of a person in a white coat holding a stethoscope.
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Even during a pandemic, it’s important for kids to get their yearly check-ups.

Dr. Jodi Bryant, with Heartland Regional Medical Center, says kids need to have in-person visits and telehealth can’t substitute when it comes to back-to-school physicals.

Carbondale Library Holds Virtual Summer Reading Program

Jul 15, 2020
A girl in a sun hat sitting outside reading a book.
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The Carbondale Public Library is offering a virtual reading program this summer.

The theme of this year’s program is Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate, Discover. Kids who take part will explore mountain ranges in a variety of ways.

Francine Wine-Frakowski, children’s librarian, said they’ve adjusted the program to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

FDA Warns Against Methanol In Hand Sanitizers

Jul 6, 2020
A person using hand sanitizer on their hands.
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The FDA is warning consumers about hand sanitizers which may be toxic - because they're made with methanol. There have been no reports of injuries from these hand sanitizers so far, but methanol is not an approved ingredient for hand sanitizer.

Daily COVID-19 Update (July 5)

Jul 5, 2020

New COVID-19 statistics were not released on July 5th, due to the holiday. But Governor JB Pritzker and Public Health Director Dr. Ngoze Ezeke warned the virus remains in the community, and is growing rapidly in other states.

Leaders say social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large crowds will go a long way at preventing a similar spike in cases in Illinois.

Daily COVID-19 Update (July 4)

Jul 4, 2020

Asthe U.S. celebrates Independence Day holiday, state leaders urged Illinoisans to use caution when celebrating this weekend.

New COVID-19 statistics were not released on July 4th, due to the holiday. But Governor JB Pritzker and Public Health Director Dr. Ngoze Ezeke warned the virus remains in the community, and is growing rapidly in other states.

Local Health Center Receives Grant For Dental Services

Jul 2, 2020

Community Health and Emergency Services, Inc. is one of several organizations receiving grant money to help provide dental services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be used to bring on additional staff. CEO Fred Bernstein said they are expecting the extra help will be needed to handle back-to-school dental appointments.

Local Hospitals Loosen Visitor Restrictions

Jun 29, 2020
Patients hand with monitors attached

As Illinois continues to Phase 4 of re-opening, local hospitals are loosening visitor restrictions.

SIH will now allow one visitor for non-COVID-19 patients, as well as one support person for patients undergoing surgical procedures. Visitors will be allowed for COVID-19 patients in end-of-life situations.

The entire State of Illinois is set to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on Friday.

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As Illinois continues to re-open, one challenge facing many families is childcare.

Lori Longueville, director of Child Care Resource and Referral at John A. Logan College, said there has been an increase in families looking for childcare, as their traditional options, like summer camps, have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

It’s a problem that continues to grow, she said, as people who have been furloughed or working remotely return to their offices.

Now that the State of Illinois has released guidelines to help school districts prepare for the return of students to the classroom this fall, the state's leading health official says it's time to get young people ready from a health standpoint.

Southeast Missouri State University has announced what the upcoming Fall 2020 semester will look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The State of Illinois rolled out its guidance for in-person school learning to return this fall.

During a special briefing Tuesday, Governor J.B Pritzker said one of the most essential mitigations will be face coverings.


This week non-profit agencies in eight southern Illinois counties will receive 400-thousand dollars to help with relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be distributed in 61 different grants throughout the week.

Carbondale City Hall to Reopen June 15

Jun 12, 2020

Carbondale City Hall is planning to reopen on Monday, June 15.

Face masks or face coverings will be required to enter City Hall, and there will be plexiglass and social distance markers at locations where employees interact with the public.


Despite calls to reopen, Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois is not ready.

Illinois News Connection

There's a new tool to help both consumers and farmers affected by recent meat shortages.

The Missouri Farm Bureau has launched a new database of farmers who sell their meat products directly to consumers.

SIH Distributes First Round Of COVID-19 Relief Fund

Jun 10, 2020

Southern Illinois Healthcare is donating funds to 18 social services agencies to help with relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent SIH community needs assessment found as many as 23.4% of the area’s population is living at or below the poverty line. That assessment was completed prior to the pandemic, and SIH says is likely to have increased due to the coronavirus.

Experts Remind Parents To Keep Up With Immunizations

Jun 10, 2020
A child getting a vaccine.
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Southern Illinois Healthcare is encouraging parents to bring their kids in for routine immunizations, even though the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing.

Parents may have put off routine visits when the pandemic began, but now that it’s clear the coronavirus will be a concern for a while, SIH wants parents to remember that it’s still important to bring children in for their vaccinations.

Pediatrician Tandy Korte said it’s especially important for babies under 18 months to get all their immunizations on schedule so they are protected from preventable illnesses.

SIH Offers Guidelines For Reopening Businesses

Jun 10, 2020

Southern Illinois Healthcare has released a guide for businesses that are reopening in the age of COVID-19.

The guide includes information on screening workers and what to do if an employee contracts COVID-19. It also includes best practices for staff and customers, instructions on how to use personal protective equipment and how to disinfect offices and equipment.

The guide is available through the Chambers of Commerce in Carbondale, Carterville, Herrin, Jefferson Co., Marion, Murphysboro, Salem, Saline County, and West Frankfort.

A recent COVID-19 outbreak in Jackson County was connected to a church that held services during the stay-at-home order

The Jackson County Health Department would not confirm the identity of the church when asked. Administrator Bart Hagston said that more than 50 cases were connected to that outbreak.

The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors has approved Return to Play Guidelines that provide the first step in IHSA student-athletes returning to participation.

The Perry County Missouri Health Department reports its seeing a second wave of COVID-19.

Local Leaders Discuss Worship Restrictions In Town Hall

Jun 3, 2020

In a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday night, local state representatives discussed the lifting of restrictions on worship services during the coronavirus pandemic.

State representatives Terri Bryant, Patrick Windhorst and Dave Severin were present, along with Peter Breen, attorney for the Thomas More Society. Breen worked on a lawsuit over Governor Pritzker’s ban on religious services with more than 10 people, which ​Pritzker and health leaders say was part of the effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

SIH Testing New Remote Visiting Procedures

Jun 3, 2020

Southern Illinois Healthcare is piloting a new method to involve patient families in care while visitors are prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently being tested at two facilities, the method involves designating a family member who will be contacted during doctor’s rounds, to stay up to date on patient care.

Facilitating visitation through technology is something the organization has been working on since the pandemic began, said Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre.


WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with Natalie Fry, the principal and curriculum coordinator at Harrisburg East Side Intermediate School, about distance learning and the uncertainty for schools in the fall.

After 82 days, Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker Friday announced he is ending his daily COVID-19 briefings and will do more in the future on an as needed basis.

Asked what lessons he's learned during the past few months, the governor says Illinoisans should be proud of how state government has responded to the pandemic.

Ferrell Hospital Offering Emergency Childcare

May 29, 2020
Ferrell Hospital

Ferrell Hospital has received a grant to provide emergency childcare for healthcare workers

Healthcare workers who have continued to work throughout the coronavirus pandemic have had to deal with daycare closures and school cancellations that disrupted previous childcare arrangements. Ferrell received the funding to open the daycare through the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network.

Caleigh Bruce, director of human resources at Ferrell hospital, said the service is free to employees and has been popular with the staff.

Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin announced that Illinois will receive more than 11 million dollars in funding to support COVID-19 testing in rural areas. The funding is part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, and each clinic will receive roughly $50,000.

A number of southern Illinois facilities are among the 200 receiving aid, including clinics in Jackson, Williamson, Saline, and Franklin counties, among others.