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    Home / College Guide / Pritzker ‘looking at all possible COVID-19 mitigations
     Posted on Thursday, July 29 @ 00:00:05 PDT

    Pritzker ‘looking at all possible COVID-19 mitigations JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois Jul 28, 2021 Save As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday continued to stress the importance of getting vaccinated. SPRINGFIELD — Masks will be required at driver’s license facilities in Illinois starting Monday, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Wednesday, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is “looking at all the possible mitigations” amid another surge of COVID-19 infections. The secretary of state’s announcement came one day after the Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance to recommend individuals in areas with “substantial risk” or greater for the spread of COVID-19 should wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status. “Substantial” risk occurs when new cases are between 50 to 99 per 100,000 people over a 7-day period, while “high” risk occurs when cases exceed that amount. A CDC county map, viewable at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view , shows much of the state’s western half along the Missouri border is at high or substantial risk, as is most of southern Illinois.

    The CDC also recommended masks be worn by all individuals in K-12 schools, and IDPH announced it “fully aligns” with the federal guidance. The governor warned Monday that districts disobeying guidance could face civil liability. Pritzker White’s new mask requirement will also apply to the Illinois State Capitol and all secretary of state offices. The announcement came as the state reported 2,082 new COVID-19 cases, the most since May 7, and the case positivity rate rose to 4 percent, the highest since April 19. The guidance that all people in school buildings should wear face coverings comes just 18 days after the CDC released guidance saying masks were suggested only for those who had not been vaccinated. Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC said in a Tuesday briefing the main reason for the change in guidance is the fact that the COVID-19 delta variant — which makes up “eight in 10” of the COVID-19 cases that have had been sequenced in laboratories — is less predictable and more transmissible than previous versions of the virus. It’s also due to the fact that fewer people than expected have chosen to become vaccinated nationwide. “When we released our school guidance on July 9, we had less delta variant in this country, we had fewer cases in this country, and importantly, we were really hopeful that we would have more people vaccinated, especially in the demographic between 12 to 17 years old,” Walensky said according to an audio recording posted to the CDC website.

    She said the guidance is aimed at protecting those who cannot be vaccinated, such as children 11 years of age and younger and those who are immunocompromised. While Pritzker said the state has “wanted school districts to make decisions for themselves throughout the last year to keep their districts safe,” school districts face the risk of being held liable in civil courts “if they dont live up to the standard that is set by the CDC.” The Illinois State Board of Education echoed those comments in a statement Wednesday. Support Local Journalism {{featured_button_text}} “Illinois fully adopted the CDCs updated guidance for K-12 schools on July 27, which recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status,” an ISBE spokesperson said in an email. “School boards that choose not to implement public health guidance are putting their students and staff at risk and should consult with their insurers as to potential liability.” Other than that, ISBE’s most recent guidance, encouraging school boards to work with local health departments on mitigations, remains in place.

    Pandemic of the unvaccinated Walensky characterized current spread of COVID-19 as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” She said while the vast majority of disease transmission is happening between unvaccinated individuals, there are “rare occasions” in which vaccinated people have been spreading the virus to others, which necessitated the guidance for vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings. But the vaccine is largely effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death in those who receive it. “We continue to estimate that the risk of a breakthrough infection with symptoms upon exposure to the delta variant is reduced by seven fold. The reduction is 20 fold for hospitalizations and deaths,” Walensky said. Walensky also said a major concern as the virus continues to spread and mutate is that it eventually evolves into a “very transmissible virus that has the potential to evade our vaccine in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death.” While “we’re not there yet,” she said, that mutation could be as few as “two mutations away” from the current circulating variants. As of now, 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are occurring in unvaccinated individuals, Pritzker has said.

    As of Tuesday night there were 857 people hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state, a high since June 4 and a 50 percent increase from exactly one week ago. Intensive care bed usage by COVID-19 patients is up 56 percent from a week ago, with 184 beds in use by COVID-19 patients, including 74 on ventilators. Another six deaths were attributed to the virus Wednesday, bringing the confirmed death toll in Illinois to 23,420, with 2,473 probable COVID-19 deaths as well since the pandemic began. The pace of vaccinations continued to slow Wednesday, with 17,982 doses administered daily over the past week, down from a peak of 130,000 in April. About half of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to IDPH. See the new Illinois laws that took effect July 1 665 bills The Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly approved 665 bills this legislative session, with the vast majority awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzkers signature. But, Pritzker has signed 42 bills into law. A handful of those will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, but most went into effect immediately upon signing or will take effect this Thursday. Here are some notable new laws in effect now or on Thursday that Illinoisans should know.

    CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS School funding The states $42.3 billion budget allocates $9.2 billion for K-12 public schools. It includes an additional $350 million as called for under the states evidence-based funding model. The increase was initially left out of Pritzkers budget, but better-than-expected revenues allowed lawmakers to maintain the increased investment. ( Senate Bill 2800 ) Election reform With pandemic-related delays to U.S. Census redistricting numbers, lawmakers moved back the states 2022 primary election from March 15 to June 28. The legislation also makes Election Day a state holiday, requires every county to have at least one universal voting center and allow people to be added to a permanent vote-by-mail list. ( SB825 ) Photo by Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune Vote by mail Some pandemic-induced changes to voting for the 2020 general election, such as vote-by-mail and curbside drop-off, will now be permanent features of future elections. ( House Bill 1871 ) State legislative redistricting As they are tasked with doing every 10 years, lawmakers approved new district boundaries for the Illinois House and Senate. The Democrat-drawn maps, which utilized the U.S. Census American Community Survey instead of waiting for the decennial census numbers that will arrive later this year, have been challenged in court by Republicans and some other groups.

    ( HB2777 ) Photo by Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune Illinois Supreme Court redistricting The seven-person Illinois Supreme Courts district boundaries were successfully redrawn for the first time since the 1960s. ( SB642 ) Photo by Capitol News Illinois Police reform There was no more controversial bill that passed this year than House Bill 3653, also known as the SAFE-T Act, which passed during the lame duck session this January. The provisions ending cash bail and requiring all police to wear body cameras will not take effect until 2023 and 2025, respectively. But starting Thursday, police will be required to render aid to the injured, intervene when a fellow officer is using excessive force and and be limited in use of force. It also offers stricter guidelines for the decertification of officers and would allow people to file anonymous complaints of police misconduct. ( HB3653 ) Payday loans Lenders are now prohibited from charging more than 36% annual percentage rate on consumer loans. The average rate in Illinois was nearly 300% prior to the laws signing. ( SB1792 ) Vaccine lottery Tucked into the states fiscal year 2022 budget is $10 million for a vaccine lottery. All Illinois residents vaccinated by July 1 will be automatically entered into the contest.

    It includes $7 million in cash prizes to vaccinated adults, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, and $3 million in scholarship awards to vaccinated youth. (SB2800) Photo by Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune College athletes compensation Starting July 1, Illinois college athletes will be allowed to financially benefit from their name, image and likeness, such as through product endorsements, the signing of autographs or having their names appear in video games. ( SB2338 ) Photo by James Boyd, Herald & Review COVID-19 emergency housing Created guidelines for distributing more than $1 billion in federal stimulus funds for COVID-related housing relief. Also creates automatic sealing of evictions during the pandemic. ( SB2877 ) Pretrial interest Victims in personal injury and wrongful death cases will be allowed to collect interest from defendants from the time a lawsuit is filed. It is meant to incentivize settlement of these cases. It was supported by the trial lawyers and opposed by business groups. ( SB72 ) Casino labor All casino applicants in Illinois are now required to enter into a project-labor agreement when seeking a new or renewed license. ( SB1360 ) Crime victims compensation Provides that a victims criminal history or felony status shall not automatically prevent compensation to that victim or the victims family.

    Extends the applicants period for submitting requested information to 45 days from 30 days and provides that a final award shall not exceed $45,000, up from $27,000, for a crime committed on or after August 7, 2022. ( HB3295 ) Electronic signature Provides that a contract, record, or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability simply because it is in electronic form or an electronic record was used in its formation. Provides that if a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law. ( SB2176 )

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