December 05, 2022
Coronavirus

Pritzker removes certain COVID-19 state testing requirements, mask rules at health care facilities

Face coverings no longer are required in all health care facilities but still are recommended in health care facilities in areas of high community transmission

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus walks in Philadelphia, Friday, April 22, 2022.  The city abandoned its indoor mask mandate Friday, just days after becoming the first U.S. metropolis to reimpose compulsory masking in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that certain COVID-19 state testing requirements and mask mandates in health care facilities would be relaxed across the state, effective immediately.

The updated executive order removes the weekly testing requirements for unvaccinated health care and long-term care workers. The order also will trigger an update of the Illinois Department of Public Health policy on masks/face coverings. Face coverings are no longer required in all health care facilities but are still recommended in health care facilities in areas of high community transmission, consistent with CDC guidance. Finally, the amended order removes the state-issued vaccine mandate for long-term care and health care employees, consistent with the CDC’s guidance.

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our health care workers and residents, Illinois has done better at keeping our people safe with vaccines, boosters, and masking, which puts us in a position to continue to scale back health care requirements in line with the CDC,” Pritzker said in a news release. “COVID-19 is on its way to becoming endemic, like the flu, but it still poses a real threat to our immunocompromised and disabled communities. Here in Illinois, we look out for one another – it’s what defines us as Illinoisans. Let us continue to live up to those ideals by masking up and testing when we have symptoms and getting COVID-19 booster shots – as I recently did – so that we can protect our neighbors.”

Although the vaccine mandate has been removed on the state level, a federal rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requiring vaccination for workers at Medicare/Medicaid-certified facilities remains in effect. The state’s amended executive order does not impact that requirement and many Illinois health care and long-term care sites will continue to have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate under this federal rule. As always, employers can implement testing, vaccination and masking regulations in place if they so choose.

“As we continue to learn how to live with COVID-19, it is important for the State of Illinois to adapt our policies to better align with federal guidelines,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a news release. “The Department continues to monitor COVID-19 closely. And we are working with our health care and long-term care partners to promote staying up-to-date with vaccinations, make treatments available, and protect our health care workforce. The updated Executive Order demonstrates our state’s ability to effectively combat COVID-19 with the many advanced tools at our disposal that can both prevent and treat this disease. I continue to encourage of all our residents, but especially those most at-risk of severe outcomes, to take advantage of the vaccinations and treatments available to protect themselves and their families.”

The IDPH announced 4,116 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths for Friday, Saturday and Sunday combined. IDPH does not update its data dashboard on weekends.

As of late Sunday, Illinois had 912 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of those, 99 were in intensive care units, and 31 were on ventilators.

For Friday-Sunday, the state administered 70,067 vaccines.

From the IDPH’s data dashboard:

Case rate per 100,000: 12.9 (up 1.2 from Friday’s update)

Percentage of ICU beds available: 23%

COVID-19-diagnosed hospital admissions (seven-day rolling average): 44 (down 18 from Friday’s update, but reporting is delayed on the federal level, per IDPH)

Weekly deaths reported: 52

Illinois has seen 3,788,199 total cases of the virus, and 35,135 people have died.

County-by-county update: As of mid-April, the IDPH will provide a county-by-county update focusing on the case rate per 100,000 people, the percentage of ICU beds available, a rolling seven-day average of COVID-19-diagnosed hospital admissions and weekly deaths.

The definition of a COVID-19-diagnosed hospital admission is as follows: the seven-day average of daily number of hospital admissions given a diagnosis of COVID-19 as measured using the Illinois Syndromic Surveillance System.

Illinois collects all emergency department and inpatient visits through syndromic surveillance from all acute care hospitals in Illinois in near-real time. Data is presented with a three-day lag to allow time for diagnosis to be reported.

CountyCase Rate/100,000% available ICU bedsCOVID-19 diagnosed hospital admissions
(7-day rolling average)
Weekly
deaths
Bureau21.22300
Chicago10.82289
DeKalb11.22300
DuPage15.62941
Grundy13.22300
Kane12.62911
Kendall9.22300
Lake12.82824
La Salle9.92301
Lee7.52300
McHenry13.12823
Ogle15.12301
Suburban
Cook
12.6221212
Whiteside13.62302
Will13.72021

Vaccine update: As of Monday, the IDPH reported a total of 29,581,975 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed statewide, with 24,311,033 vaccines administered.

As of Monday, 8,383,542 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or 65.80% of the population. Illinois has a population of 12,741,080 people.

CDC numbers:

Among Illinois residents 5 and older:

Fully Vaccinated: 8,869,821 (74.4%)

At Least 1 Dose: 9,805,421 (82.2%)

Among Illinois residents 12 and older:

Fully Vaccinated: 8,428,943 (77.8%)

At Least 1 Dose: 9,307,448 (85.9%)

Among Illinois residents 18 and older:

Fully Vaccinated: 7,776,603 (78.9%)

At Least 1 Dose: 8,593,344 (87.2%)

Among Illinois residents 65 and older:

Fully Vaccinated: 1,845,354 (90.3%)

At Least 1 Dose: 1,994,743 (95%)

There can be as much as a 72-hour delay in reporting from health care providers on vaccines administered.

In northern Illinois, here is the percentage of the population fully vaccinated by county:

Chicago: 69.38%

Suburban Cook: 73.41%

Lake: 71.17%

McHenry: 66.46%

DuPage: 76.14%

Kane: 67.01%

Will: 67.29%

Kendall: 70.22%

La Salle: 58.78%

Grundy: 58.14%

DeKalb: 56.87%

Ogle: 57.27%

Lee: 59.24%

Whiteside: 52.15%

Bureau: 57.08%

John Sahly

John Sahly

John Sahly is the digital editor for the Shaw Media Local News Network. He has been with Shaw Media since 2008, previously serving as the Northwest Herald's digital editor, and the Daily Chronicle sports editor and sports reporter.