COVID-19 Update: Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate continues to slowly decline, reaching levels not seen since mid-October. The rolling 7-day case positivity rate is 4.3%. The rolling 7-day test positivity rate is 5.5%.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,191 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 103 additional deaths. Overnight Wednesday, labs report 100,119 test results. As of Wednesday night, 2,802 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 567 patients were in the ICU and 292 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Vaccine Update: Phase 1B of Illinois’ vaccination plan, which includes persons over the age of 65 and frontline essential workers, is underway statewide. A new portal is available at coronavirus.illinois.gov to provide residents with information about the COVID-19 vaccine.The portal will provide eligible residents with nearby vaccination sites, information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Walgreens is providing vaccines at 92 sites across the state. Eligible residents can schedule an appointmenthere. Jewel-Osco is providing vaccines at 92 sites and the link to schedule an appointment is here. Hy-Vee Pharmacy is vaccinating at 16 downstate locations. The link to an appointment is here. Over the next few days, additional pharmacy partners will be coming online and opening registration for appointments.
Illinois has received a total of 1,789,175 vaccine doses – 1,293,075 doses have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago and 496,100 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. Of the doses received, IDPH is reporting 829,488 vaccines have been administered, including 131,284 for long-term care facilities. On Wednesday, 55,865 doses were administered, which is the most doses administered in one day thus far. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 36,728 doses.
Recreational Cannabis: The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, using revenue from adult use cannabis sales, awarded 80 grants totaling $31.5 million to organizations to help the communities hardest hit by the war on drugs. The grants are part of the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program, which was created under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. More information is here.
High School Sports Resume: High School sports are allowed to resume in any region that is operating in Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan. The Illinois High School Association revised the 2021 high school sports calendar to allow the basketball season to start immediately and run until March 13. Games can begin 7 days after practice begins. Football, which was not authorized in the Fall, can start practices on March 3 with games running from March 19th through April 24th. There will be no postseason for basketball or football. Traditional spring sports including baseball, softball and track, which missed all of last season due to the pandemic, start on April 5th. The new calendar ishere.
EPA Groundwater Monitoring: Illinois Environmental Protection issued health advisories for four chemicals in accordance with Illinois groundwater regulations. Health advisories are issued when there is detection of a chemical substance harmful to human health for which no numeric groundwater standard exists, and resampling confirms the presence in a community water supply well.
The four chemicals specified in the health advisories are compounds included in the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence over time in surface water and groundwater. Each health advisory contains a general description of the chemical, information on carcinogenicity and potential adverse health effects, and a guidance level. More information is here.
Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker appointed the following individuals:
- Kendra Cunningham will continue to serve on the Illinois Labor Relations Board.
- Dana Kinion will continue to serve on the Property Tax Appeal Board.
- LeDeidre Turner will continue to serve on the Human Rights Commission.
- Jacqueline Gomez will serve on the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
ATTORNEY GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS:
A ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes is the goal of 23 attorneys general, including Illinois’ Kwame Raoul, who submitted a letter on January 22 to the US Food and Drug Administration. The letter states that the ban would benefit public health overall, decrease youth smoking, and ease the harm done to minority populations. More information is here.
102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The 102nd General Assembly is continuing to organize. Following the identification of positive COVID cases during the lame-duck session, Legislative Leaders are revising public health practices to enable the General Assembly to safely return to work amidst the ongoing pandemic. As previously mentioned, Senate Rules allow for remote committee hearings and for individual members to participate remotely in floor sessions. While the House has not yet adopted operating Rules for the 102nd General Assembly, the new House Rules are expected to allow for some type of remote committee hearings and possibly some type of remote participation in floor sessions. Speaker Welch noted that House committees will meet Monday through Friday, rather than the typical Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning, due to technological constraints limiting the number of committees that can meet virtually at one time.
The House will return to in-person session on February 10th at the Capitol for the purposes of adopting House Rules to govern the 102nd General Assembly. Speaker Welch canceled all remaining session days for the month of February. Between now and February 10th, House leadership will be working on finalizing the House operating rules.Speaker Welch announced there will be 43 committees total (34 standing and 9 special committees) for the 102nd General Assembly. One Committee was eliminated – the Appropriations Capital committee. New committees are Ethics and Elections; Housing; Immigration and Human Rights; Police and Fire; Restorative Justice; and Tourism. The Mental Health committee was renamed the Mental Health and Addiction Committee. View a list of the committees and chairshere. A full list of committee appointments is expected in the coming days.
In the House, Leader Greg Harris is tasked with leading the discussion about changes to the House Rules. Harris is asking for members on both sides of the aisle to provide him with suggestions for changes to the House rules. Leader Gordon-Booth is in charge of discussions regarding House operations and administration. Leader Andrade is leading the discussion on communications.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced his leadership team for the 102nd General Assembly.
- Deputy Minority Leaders: Representatives Dan Brady and Tom Demer
- Assistant Minority Leaders: Representative Tom Bennett, Avery Bourne, Tim Butler, C.D.Davidsmeyer, Deanne Mazzochi, Ryan Spain and Keith Wheeler
- Republican Conference Chair: Representative David Welter
- Floor Leader: Representative Mark Batinick
Sally Turner of Beason was chosen to replace former State Senator Bill Brady. Turner served six terms as Logan County clerk. Turner’s husband, John, is an Illinois Appellate Court Judge and a former State Representative.
The Governor is scheduled to give his budget address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on February 17th. With the House canceling in-person session for that day, it is presumed the Governor will deliver his budget address virtually, although no formal announcement has been made to that effect.
Today is the deadline to request drafting of substantive House Bills. February 5th is the deadline to request drafting of substantive Senate Bills. The House will return to session on February 10th for one day only. The Senate is scheduled to return to session February 9th – 11th.