Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a news conference Thursday morning in Chicago during which he announced a statewide indoor mask mandate effective Monday.(blueroomstream.com)

Gov. JB Pritzker speaks during a news conference Thursday morning in Chicago during which he announced a statewide indoor mask mandate effective Monday.(blueroomstream.com)

Pritzker orders masks be worn indoors in Illinois; vaccines required for teachers, health care workers

By Jerry Nowicki

SPRINGFIELD – The statewide mask mandate indoors is back, and educators and health care professionals will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday amid an ongoing surge in the pandemic that first arrived in Illinois in March 2020.

Beginning Monday, people will be required to wear masks indoors, Pritzker announced.

The vaccine requirement, which goes into effect Sept. 5, will apply to “all P-12 teachers and staff, all higher education personnel, all higher education students, and health care workers in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and physician’s offices,” Pritzker said at a news conference in Chicago.

“Effective Sept. 5, individuals working in these settings who are unable or unwilling to receive their first dose of vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once a week, and IDPH and (the Illinois State Board of Education) may require more frequent testing in certain situations, like in an outbreak,” he said.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the state is seeing 220 hospital admissions per day, a number on par with a surge in May. Pritzker said 98 percent of cases, 96 percent of hospitalizations and 95 percent of deaths since January have been among unvaccinated people.

While vaccines are the best defense, Ezike said, “wearing a mask continues to be one of the simplest, cheapest ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Intensive care bed availability in southern Illinois is at 3 percent, he said.

“That’s because the regions with the lowest vaccination rates are the regions where there are fewer hospitals, and lower hospital capacity,” Pritzker said. “And those hospitals are sometimes the least well equipped to handle cases as they become more acute.”

He added, “We are continuing to rely on experts at the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (Illinois Department of Public Health), but you don’t need to be an epidemiologist to understand what’s going on here. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

The current vaccination rates – nearly 53 percent of the state’s population is vaccinated – “are not enough to blunt the ferocity of the delta variant,” which has led to hospitals “again fighting the battle that we had hoped would be behind us by now.”

Republicans, meanwhile, continue to call on the governor to further involve the General Assembly in his COVID-19 response.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, shared a letter he sent to Pritzker on Monday, noting he got a call from the governor Wednesday night seeking input on a potential response amid the new COVID-19 wave.

But, according to the letter which his office shared with members of the media, Durkin said he received a breaking news brief shortly after the phone call which outlined Pritzker’s planned announcement for the Thursday news conference.

“I will reiterate my plea on our call yesterday to please make your experts available to the General Assembly so that we can examine their data and plans, review the results of your many previous mandates and together plot a course of action that will work,” Durkin said in the letter. “You have the authority to call for a special session of both chambers to address this very critical issue, and I am imploring you to do so immediately.”

Pritzker said he’s “always been available” to GOP leadership and rank-and-file members, and “when the legislature talks to me, I listen.”

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Local News

Angel Williams, of South Carolina, enjoyed being able to phone home to his mom and his fiancé. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Brookfield VFW Post gives 45 Navy recruits a happy Thanksgiving Day

By Steve Metsch It had been about three months since Brittney Rodriguez sat down to enjoy a home-cooked meal. It’s not that the food is terrible at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in North Chicago, Rodriguez said. It’s just not as good as Mom’s cooking. “They have their days, but it’s not a home-cooked…

Team captain Zach Hayes holds the trophy as Coach Tim Racki and the Roadrunners celebrate the school’s fourth state football championship in nine seasons, and first since 2018. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Nazareth rally celebrates fourth state football championship

By Steve Metsch Two huge cheers rocked the Rooney Student Center at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park late Monday morning. The first was when Zach Hayes – joined by the coaches and teammates – walked in carrying the IHSA Class 5A state football championship trophy high over his head. The second was when school…

Members of Orland Park's Dance Company dance during Sunday's holiday parade. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park gets in the holiday spirit with parade and tree lighting

By Jeff Vorva The Village of Orland Park’s lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony has been going on for decades, but its holiday parade just completed its sophomore run. The second holiday parade kicked off the festivities on Sunday followed by Mayor Keith Pekau and a group of children pulling the switch to not only…

bridgeview police logo - Copy

Pedestrian, 70, hit by car, dies crossing Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch A 70-year-old Bridgeview man died after he was hit by a car at 6:45 p.m. Monday in the 8100 block of South Harlem Avenue, Police Chief Ricardo Mancha said. The man identified as Brian Callaghan was walking from the east side of Harlem to the west, Mancha said. Callaghan lived at Moraine…

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 1.57.20 PM

A Thanksgiving surprise

The kindergarteners at St. Daniel the Prophet School had a surprise visitor earlier this month–known to them as Army National Guard Sergeant Bryan Dudycha. But one student in the class knows him as Daddy; and when she saw him, Madison leapt into his arms, gleeful over his return from deployment, just in time for Thanksgiving.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound November 30, 2022

Mary Stanek

Hang out your socks for St. Nick

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Hang out those socks on the night of Monday, Dec. 5. St. Nicholas day is here on Tuesday, Dec. 6. St. Nick was known for selling all of his possessions and giving to the poor. He may…

Kathy Headley

Thanksgiving was fun, and delicious

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Hope your Thanksgiving was as fun and happy as ours. As always, the aroma and taste of home cooking and holiday desserts were a big part of the day. I feel comfortable telling you where we picked up…

CRRNH_SweetSaluteRhineVFW_112322

A sweet salute to veterans

Rhine VFW Post 2729 members William Haas and Jerry Dipasquale survey some of the bags of candy, pastries and other treats given to the post earlier this month by the students of Sahs School in Central Stickney. The Sahs boys and girls also wrote personal letters and made patriotic posters expressing their thanks and appreciation…

Summit Trustee Aleco Julius (from left), Summit Trustee Sam Dardovski, Summit Fire Captain Anthony Anderson, Summit Police Chief Mel Ortiz, Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez stand in front of the village Christmas tree. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Summit lights Christmas tree, holds last Neighborhood Watch for the year

By Carol McGowan Summit officials and residents were on hand November 17 for the lighting of the village Christmas tree in front of the police station on Archer Road. In what’s become an annual event the last couple of years, the tree is lit before the last Neighborhood Watch meeting for the year. There is…

Neighbors

Northwestern Home Team 250x250 1
Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] An appellate court on Wednesday reversed several contempt of court citations that were filed in recent months against Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith for failing to comply with court orders to place state wards in appropriate settings. The court found that Smith did not…

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Wednesday to a bill aimed at prohibiting state investment in assets tied to Russia and Belarus in retaliation for their participation in the war in Ukraine. House Bill 1293, by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, urges the state’s five retirement systems…

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two days before lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn for the year, one of the lead negotiators of the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform filed a long-awaited amendment detailing several changes to the landmark cash bail overhaul. Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, filed a 308-page amendment to House…

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment trust fund is generally funded by the state’s businesses through insurance premiums collected via…

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the agreement is expected to move through the General Assembly this…

Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – People walking through downtown Springfield on Monday morning looked up to an unusual sight – a helicopter hovering over the Old State Capitol, dropping a rope and lifting away the flagpole that sat atop the bronze-colored dome. “We took off the flagpole of at the Old…

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who recently announced he has the support for another term as House speaker, says he looks forward to governing with an even larger supermajority than he had during his first two years. “Expanding our caucus was definitely a priority of…

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Senate Minority Leader-elect John Curran will take over a caucus that’s more than doubled in size by the majority-party Democrats. His goal: “Bring balance to state government.” “Because we’re going to produce better results with that balance for working families throughout all Illinois communities,” Curran said…

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, Nov. 15, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers Grove.…

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Changes may yet come to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform before its Jan. 1 effective date, but some of its major proponents in the General Assembly said the results of the Nov. 8 general election have signified that the ship has sailed drastic amendments to…

DVN Jack Pats Butcher Shop House Ad
CRR NH Rainbow Motel House Ad