As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in Illinois, Governor Pritzker issued a stern warning this week that some of Illinois’ eleven public health regions may be headed for additional restrictions. The statewide positivity rate has climbed to 3.8 %, but some regions like the Metro East Region, have positivity rates nearing 8%.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,772 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 18 additional deaths. This is the highest one-day case count since May. IDPH is reporting a total of 176,896 cases, including 7,478 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. Laboratories reported 41,134 test results on Thursday. As of Wednesday night, 1,452 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 353 patients were in the ICU and 149 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
New COVID-19 Guidance for Sports: Governor Pritzker released new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois. The guidance applies to school-based sports such as those governed by the IHSA and IES, travel clubs, private leagues, recreational leagues, sports centers and Park District sports programs. The new guidance rates sports based upon risk level and then authorizes four levels of play, ranging from no contact to full play, based upon current public health guidelines.
The IHSA subsequently made changes to their 2020-21 high school sports schedule to align with the Governor’s new guidance. Football, girls’ volleyball and boys soccer are moved to the Spring 2021 season. Golf, tennis, cross country and swimming/diving are allowed to start in the fall and will run from August 10 to October 24. A copy of the IHSA plan is here.
Health/Safety Strikes Possible: The Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers Union issued a joint statement this week notifying school districts that their members were exploring all options, including health and safety strikes, in any school district that is not following appropriate health and safety mitigation. A copy of the statement is here.
Executive Orders: Governor Pritzker issued four new Executive Orders this week.
·Executive Order 2020-50 allows the Illinois Department of Corrections to resume accepting the transfer of individuals from Illinois county jails. Specific health and safety factors will be taken into account when determining the process for transfers. The Illinois Sherriff’s Association is critical of the new order, arguing that the criteria for transfer are unrealistic for local jails to meet.
· Executive Order 2020-47 allows for the resumption of in-person learning in K – 12 schools beginning with the 2020/21 school year. All schools must follow IDPH and ISBE health guidelines, including using PPE, temperature checks, hygienic practices, social distancing and limiting people to 50 or fewer in one space.
· Executive Order 2020-48 reissues most of the previous COVID executive orders generally through August 22, 2020. · Executive Order 2020-49 creates the Illinois Joint Analysis Center (IL-JAC) to help prevent and respond to threats facing Illinois citizens. The Center’s mission is to protect the people and property of Illinois by providing a multi-disciplinary, information sharing network designed to gather, analyze, and disseminate cyber analysis and information to public and private stakeholders in a timely manner. The Center will be governed by an Oversight Board.
Illinois State Board of Elections: The State Board of Elections Springfield Office closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and several other workers began showing symptoms. The office is set re-open on August 7th.
Infrastructure Grants: The Illinois Department of Transportation announced $250 million in grants to counties, municipalities and townships to address local transportation needs. A complete listing of the awards is here.
Gubernatorial Appointments: · Matthew Shattock will serve on the Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees.
101st GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
Lakesia Collins was appointed to represent the 9th Representative District. Collins, a nursing home CNA and SEIU organizer, will fulfill the remainder of the term vacated by Rep. Art Turner, II who resigned this summer. Turner was not seeking reelection. Collins won a crowded primary in March to replace Turner.