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.

Tri-County Detention Center

Congregate facilities have resulted in a large number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois.

One location in deep southern Illinois to experience an outbreak is the federally-run Tri-County Detention Center in Ullin, which is a field office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Four republican members of the Illinois House are calling for an audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The issue started two weeks ago when a constituent of Representative Terri Bryant alerted her they were able to see personal information of others as they were filing an unemployment claim.

Heartland Regional Medical Center Resumes Services

May 28, 2020

Heartland Regional Medical Center will be resuming all normal services as part of Illinois’ Phase 3 reopening plan.

Previously restricted services include sleep clinic studies, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging. Inpatient and outpatient areas will continue to follow enhanced infection control procedures, including cleaning protocols, use of personal protective equipment and separate areas of care.

Jackson County Experiences Surge In COVID-19 Cases

May 27, 2020

As southern Illinois prepares for Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, COVID-19 cases in Jackson County are on the rise.

Centerstone Offers Virtual Youth Cafe

May 26, 2020
Centerstone Logo
Centerstone / Centerstone

Centerstone will be offering a virtual youth café for 7th and 8th graders this summer.

The program will offer an opportunity for teens to navigate their feelings in a stressful and changing world. It will meet once a week, on Wednesdays from 2pm to 3pm. Participants will receive support from a licensed counselor as well as their peers. Topics will include things like anxiety, the effects of stress on the body, and coping skills.

COVID-19 Mask Makers Are Part Of A Bigger History

May 22, 2020
A collage of women wearing masks.
Karina Neill

As the U.S. struggles with shortages of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers have jumped into action. Around the country people are sewing masks, for healthcare workers and community members at risk for contracting COVID-19. But sewing for a cause fits into a much bigger history.


With more than 150 Illinois lawmakers meeting in a Springfield multi-purpose arena to enhance social distancing, some churches with large sanctuaries would like the same consideration.

Governor J-B Pritzker says his team is looking at all the ways for that to happen.

Even though all Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities remain closed right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials say drivers will still have plenty of time to take care of any transactions once the office re-open.

SIH Participating In COVID-19 Plasma Study

May 20, 2020
A person's hands preparing to draw blood from a patient.
Creators Collective / Unsplash

Southern Illinois Healthcare is participating in a study on treating COVID-19 with convalescent plasma.

SIH is one of more than 2,000 sites participating in the study led by the Mayo Clinic. In order to be enrolled in the study, patients must be hospitalized with COVID-19. The study hopes to determine whether plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used to help severely ill patients recover or help prevent moderately ill patients from becoming sicker.

There remains confusion about how the Illinois Department of Public Health determines if COVID-19 was the primary factor in a person's death.

Some local government leaders across Illinois are asking Governor J-B Pritzker to be more flexible to allow them to re-open their economies ahead of the May 29 target date.

Pritzker says it's important to run the full course in Phase 2 of his Restore Illinois plan.

Area Hospitals Resume Elective Surgery

May 18, 2020
Surgeons in masks at an operating table.
Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Local hospitals are taking a step closer to normal operations. Southern Illinois Healthcare, SSM Health and Heartland Regional Medical Center have begun resuming elective surgeries at a reduced volume. Elective procedures include things like hip or knee replacements, some gynecological surgery and pain management procedures.

During Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker addressed the whereabouts of some members of his family during the state's ongoing stay at home order.


One southern Illinois county has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases in the past week.

Union County's total number of cases has nearly doubled since May 7. On the 7th, the county had 57 cases. In just the past week, the county has recorded 51 cases...including 38 on Wednesday.

Tips For Managing Blood Pressure During Stressful Times

May 14, 2020
One person takes the blood pressure of another.
rawpixel//Creative Commons License

May is National Blood Pressure Education month and the Southern Seven Health Department wants to remind people to take care of themselves in this stressful time.

Nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure, only a quarter of those have their blood pressure under control. Because stress can make high blood pressure worse, Southern Seven has some tips to help manage stress levels.

Local Human Services Agencies Meet With Legislators

May 13, 2020

Representatives from Southern Illinois human service agencies held a meeting with local legislators to discuss issues and concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders from agencies raised topics including issues with reimbursement for remote services, confusion over small-business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, and ways remote services could continue to benefit Illinoisans in the future.

Rural Hospitals Brace For COVID-19

May 13, 2020
Ferrell Hospital

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some of the biggest outbreaks have been concentrated in urban areas, like New York City and Chicago. But rural America isn’t immune to the virus — and many rural areas are already dealing with a scarcity of health care.

Ferrell Hospital, in Eldorado, is bracing for coronavirus. While most of Illinois’ cases have concentrated in the Chicago area, Dr. Joseph Jackson, a physician at Ferrell, said the virus spreading to rural areas like the ones his hospital serves is inevitable.

Southern Illinois Healthcare has opened a new COVID-19 testing site at the former Region’s Bank building at Rt. 13 and Poplar in Carbondale.

The drive-through location is in addition to a similar testing site at SIH Urgent Care in Marion. Both are open seven days a week.

State of Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking COVID-19 cases at the state's veteran's homes.

IDPH director Dr. Ngoze Ezike says there are 30 residents and ten workers at Manteno and one resident in the LaSalle facility who have tested positive.

Shawnee Health Services
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

Shawnee Health Service is working to support Southern Illinois seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.

To help those over 60, Shawnee Alliance, the social service department at Shawnee Health Service, has received additional funding from the Illinois Department of Aging. People over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

​For Alliance Director Carol Aronson, the goal is to make it possible for seniors to stay isolated and still have their daily needs met.

The Carbondale Warming Center is seeking donations.

The facility is staying open through the warmer months to help those in need of a place to stay during the state's stay at home order.

City of Carbondale spokesperson Roni LeForge says the center needs men's clothing.

SIU Team Working On Virus Tracker

May 7, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

At SIU, a computing professor and two of his students are hoping to make it easier for people to know if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.

Koushik Sinha is an assistant professor at the School of Computing. He and two graduate students, Zachary Vanscoit and Sai Shanmukha Narumanchi, are building the tool, along with a collaborator in Australia.

Sinha said the virus contact map would use GPS data already gathered by people’s phones. It could be used by the general public and public health officials who are trying to trace the spread of the novel coronavirus.


Carbondale Main Street is asking consumers to fill out a survey.

City of Carbondale spokesperson Roni LeForge says it's designed to give local businesses an idea of when people might be feel comfortable enough to return to some more normal activities.