Three Regions Cleared for Sports Amid Lessened COVID-19 Restrictions

4 hours ago
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

All high school sports – including the higher-risk football, basketball and wresting – may now be played in three regions of Illinois as the state continues to loosen restrictions amid the pandemic.

All regions of the state had moved out of Tier 3 mitigations as of Friday as the COVID-19 health metrics continue to show improvement statewide. The three of the state’s 11 regions that have rolled back to Phase 4 mitigations are free to allow high school sports. Meanwhile, the entire state will move into Phase 1B of its vaccine distribution plan starting Monday.

Positivity Rate Progress Sparks More Mitigation Movement

Jan 21, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Only one of the state’s 11 COVID-19 mitigation regions remains at the highest level of restricted activity Thursday as the statewide case positivity rate continues to decline.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday that Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, was moved to Tier 1 mitigations, while Region 6 in east-central Illinois moved back to base Phase 4 guidelines.

SSM Health began providing COVID-19 vaccinations to Phase 1B patients on Wednesday at its primary care office in Mt. Vernon. 

State COVID-19 Positivity Rate Continues to Drop

Jan 20, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state continued to see progress with its rolling seven-day average COVID-19 case positivity rate, which decreased for the 12th straight day Wednesday.

The rolling positivity rate stood at 5.5 percent, a decrease of two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous day, marking its lowest point since Oct. 20.

COVID-19 Mitigations Rolled Back in 9 Regions

Jan 19, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Nine of 11 regions in the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan have seen mitigations lifted in the past week, with two moving all the way back to Phase 4 restrictions.

The announcement came as hospitalizations and positivity rates continued to decline and the state launched a contracting effort to increase hospital staffing, adjusting the available bed metrics that determine mitigation levels.

State Seven-Day COVID-19 Positivity Rate Hits Lowest Point Since Oct. 23

Jan 19, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state’s COVID-19 seven-day average case positivity rate dropped to 5.7 percent Tuesday, the lowest it has been since Oct. 23.

The positivity rate peaked at 13.2 percent on a rolling average as of Nov. 13, and the entire state entered strict Tier 3 mitigations on Nov. 20. Since then the positivity rate has been on a continual downward trend except for the two weeks following Christmas day when it rose from just under 7 percent to over 8.5 percent before beginning to fall again.

Missouri health officials expect to vaccinate all health care workers by the end of January, followed by teachers and other essential workers.

The Egyptian Health Department says all of its COVID-19 vaccination appointments are full at this time.

Officials ask residents of Saline, White and Gallatin counties to monitor the Harrisburg Medical Center Facebook page for further announcements as more vaccine becomes available.

COVID-19 Update: New Guidance on Indoor Dining, Vaccination plan, New Virus Strain, Sports

Jan 15, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker announced revisions to his COVID-19 mitigation tiers Friday that would allow earlier indoor dining, but no regions have thus far met the requirements.

He also announced that the whole state would move to Phase 1B of vaccination efforts as of Jan. 25, while some counties might already individually have entered that phase. As well, a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus has been confirmed to be spreading in Illinois.

Statewide COVID-19 Positivity Rate Continues to Drop

Jan 14, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The statewide seven-day rolling COVID-19 case positivity rate decreased slightly on Thursday to 6.8 percent, remaining below 8 percent for a sixth consecutive day.

The rate dropped from 7.3 percent the day prior. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 6,652 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state, with an additional 88 deaths. The state has reported 1,052,682 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 17,928 deaths across the state’s 102 counties.

The Jackson County Health Department is offering appointments for administering the COVID-19 vaccine during Phase 1B of the state's plan.

This includes those 65 and older as well as frontline workers. The department estimates around 12,000 people in Jackson County are eligible under this phase.

Statewide Positivity Rate Drops for Fifth Straight Day as IDPH Reports 5,862 Cases Wednesday

Jan 13, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state’s rolling COVID-19 positivity rate dropped for the fifth straight day as Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 5,862 new confirmed and probable cases with an additional 97 deaths Wednesday.

The seven-day rolling positivity rate stood was 7.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent one week ago and down two-tenths of a percentage point from Tuesday. The state has reported 1,046,030 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and the death toll is now 17,840 across the state’s 102 counties.

Cold And Flu Meds Can Come With Risk For Some Consumers

Jan 13, 2021
Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Cold and flu season is here, but consumers should be aware of potential risk when taking over-the-counter medications.

While cold and flu medications are generally safe, they can interact with common prescription drugs. Shawnna Rhine, outreach coordinator with the Southern Seven Health Department, said many patients aren’t aware of the potential risks.

State’s Positivity Rate Decreases Again, Remains Below 8 Percent

Jan 12, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The statewide seven-day rolling COVID-19 case positivity rate remained below 8 percent for a third consecutive day Tuesday after decreasing for a fourth straight day.

Tuesday’s seven-day rolling positivity rate was 7.5 percent, a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from Monday.

The Southern Seven Health Department says it'll be wrapping up phase 1A of the COVID vaccine program soon.

Some Illinois Counties Entering Next Phase of Vaccine Distribution

Jan 11, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Some regions of the state could see loosened COVID-19 restrictions as early as Friday as some counties have already transitioned to the next phase of vaccine distribution, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday.

Although the state remains in Phase 1A of its vaccine distribution plan, some communities which have substantially completed Phase 1A have moved to the early stages of Phase 1B.

State COVID-19 Rolling Positivity Rate Falls Below 8 Percent

Jan 10, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois reported another 4,711 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 81 additional virus-related deaths Sunday as the rolling seven-day average positivity rate fell below 8 percent.

The state is now reporting a total 1,028,750 cases, including 17,574 total deaths across the state’s 102 counties.

On Chicago’s Southwest side, a colorful mural pays tribute to America’s essential workers. It features three of the community’s very own: Rosalinda, a retail clerk; Javier, a postal carrier and Juan, a butcher shop worker. Underneath their portraits are the words El Corazon de Chicago: The heart of Chicago.

Statewide COVID-19 Cases Surpass 1 Million

Jan 7, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois has reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

“In a pandemic that has contained far too many tragic milestones, today’s marking of one million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Illinois deserves particular recognition,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release.

Regions Could Have Some Mitigations Loosened Starting Jan. 15

Jan 6, 2021

Statewide Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigations could be lifted within 10 days.

Starting Jan.15, exactly one incubation period from New Year’s Day, any region that has met requirements for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of the Tier 3 mitigation plan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

State of Illinois

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services is launching the State of Illinois' new comprehensive wellness program for employees, retirees and health plan participants.

Administration Still ‘In a Pause’ When Considering Mitigation Rollbacks

Jan 5, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate ticked down slightly on Tuesday to 8. 5 percent, marking nearly a month that the rate has stayed below 10 percent.

The rolling seven-day average statewide case positivity rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point, from 8.6 percent the day before. The rate has remained below 10 percent since Dec. 8, and well below second-wave highs of 13.2 percent in mid-November.

Standing in her kitchen, Therese Richardson is making her favorite recipe. “The honey dijon roasted pork tenderloin. I like that one,” the 50-year-old Indianapolis woman says.

Richardson has Type 2 diabetes, meaning that cells in her body are resistant to insulin, causing her blood sugar levels to rise. Eating vegetables and other healthy food helps her avoid serious complications — and lowers blood sugar levels.

Statewide COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Drop

Jan 4, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Editor's Note: The weekly hospitalization numbers were calculated incorrectly in a previous version of this document and have been updated with correct numbers

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and average case positivity rate remain below second-wave highs while public health officials in Illinois continue to caution residents that a post-holiday surge could materialize.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 5,059 new and probable cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with an average of 5,900 of new cases daily from Dec. 31 to Sunday.

The Clay County Public Health Department is offering expanded COVID-19 testing this weekend, after a large potential exposure to the virus on Christmas Eve.

Illinois Delivers More Than 269,000 Vaccines; 126,111 Vaccinated Thus Far

Dec 30, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As Illinois’ COVID-19 hospitalization and case numbers have stabilized since the second-wave highs last month, the governor’s office announced 126,211 vaccinations were administered throughout the state, including Chicago, as of Tuesday evening.

The state has delivered 108,225 vaccine doses of Pfizer and 161,400 doses of Moderna to hospitals throughout the state, not including Chicago, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s spokesperson.

The same day the first employees at Memorial Health System hospitals in central Illinois were getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, an internal blog post was published: “Debunking COVID-19 Vaccination Myths.”

Megan Miedema is a mother of two in Chicago. In October, she started to feel back pain but was hesitant to go to the doctor. She worried about getting COVID-19 and bringing it back home. 

Illinois Reports 106 COVID-19 Deaths Tuesday

Dec 29, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois reported its third consecutive day with more than 100 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. Meanwhile, most statistics the state uses to measure progress in combatting the coronavirus ticked up slightly.

Quincy Veterans Home Resident Tests Positive for Legionnaires’ Disease

Dec 28, 2020

A resident at the state-run veterans home in Quincy has tested positive for both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday the agencies are investigating the case of Legionnaires’ disease in a single resident, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 30 and showed pneumonia symptoms on Dec. 16, according to the news release.