Masks Again Required For All While Indoors

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Citing increasing coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates–particularly in downstate communities with the lowest vaccination rates–Governor JB Pritzker announced the return to indoor mask requirements beginning on Monday, Aug. 30.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, the governor and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDHP)Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike also announced vaccination requirements for individuals in high risk settings–all healthcare workers including nursing home employees, and all teachers and school staff.  Those who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested at least once per week, and IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may require increased testing in certain situations.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 30, all Illinois residents over the age of two will be required to wear a mask in all indoor settings. The requirement is applicable to both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents statewide.

The public health requirements come as regions with low vaccination rates continue to see a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In Montgomery County where the fully-vaccinated rate is 41.4 percent, the local health department reported 94 new coronavirus cases Sunday through Friday last week, Aug. 22-27.

The health department has scheduled two more drive-through vaccination clinics this week–in Butler and Panama–plus walk-in clinics each Monday and Thursday at their office on Route 185 in Taylor Springs.

Drive-through clinics are scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Butler Community Center on Route 127 in Butler, and from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, on Hilton Avenue east of the Panama VFW.  All three vaccines will be available: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.  Pre-registration is not required; bring an insurance card if you have one.

The local health department continues to offer all three vaccinations at their main office on Route 185 in Taylor Springs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Monday and Thursday.  All three vaccines are available (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson).  Clinics are walk-in, but if curb-side service is needed, it is available.  Simply call the health department (217-532-2001) upon arrival and tell them you need a shot in your vehicle.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the Litchfield School District announced three high school students, two middle school students, and one Colt Elementary student had tested positive.  The following day the Hillsboro School District announced two Beckemeyer students, one in third grade and one in fourth, tested positive.  Eight of the 13 identified close contacts will be quarantined, and five are participating in the “test to stay” program.

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