SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – Gov. JB Pritzker has extended the COVID-19 disaster in Illinois for another 30 days. He says the virus continues to infect and claim the lives of too many Illinoisans each day.
In the latest disaster proclamation, Pritzker wrote the number of new cases has increased recently and is at the highest point in several weeks. He also explained that the COVID-19 situation remains fluid as the BA.2 Omicron subvariant has caused significant surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in other parts of the world and is now leading to an increase of cases and hospitalizations in Illinois.
The case rate 7-day average in Illinois is currently 200 per 100,000 people. 699 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 complications, with 72 people in the ICU and 21 on ventilators. At this time last week, the case rate 7-day average was 172 per 100,000 people. 688 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 with 77 in the ICU and 23 on ventilators.
Pritzker’s new executive order also highlights the importance of masks despite the removal of his statewide indoor mask mandate.
“Even without a state mandate, K-12 schools, childcare facilities, and other settings may choose to require individuals to wear face masks based on the community COVID-19 level and other characteristics of the setting,” Pritzker wrote.
Masks are no longer required on public transit due to recent changes announced by the Biden administration and CDC. Although, the governor’s executive order notes that face coverings are still required in health care and congregate settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
Meanwhile, schools and daycare centers are still encouraged to follow CDC and state agency recommendations on social distancing, testing, ventilation, and contact tracing. Employee vaccine and testing requirements are also still in place in congregate care settings, schools, and daycare centers.
Several previous executive orders weren’t re-issued by Pritzker. One provision had suspended a rule for the advancement of sick leave throughout the pandemic since March 13, 2020. Another previous executive order suspended the requirement for the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide a 14-day notification period to state attorneys before inmates received an earlier release date due to good conduct. Although, that order noted that the Department of Corrections would take steps to ensure the relevant state’s attorney was notified as far in advance or as quickly as possible.
A separate executive order regarding changes to the Illinois school code to allow for special child care services for children of essential employees is no longer in effect. That executive order issued on March 26, 2020, also allowed school districts to communicate, accept or open bids for construction projects electronically.
Pritzker said last week that he plans to ease back more of the executive orders over time. The proclamation and executive order will expire on May 28.
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