COVID-19 ‘emergency’ to end in May

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday the state’s public health emergency will end May 11, aligning the state with the federal government’s decision to end the national public health emergency. 

“Since COVID-19 first emerged nearly three years ago, my administration has worked diligently alongside the federal government to battle this once-in-a-generation pandemic by following scientific and medical guidance to support frontline workers and save lives. Our state’s disaster proclamation and executive orders enabled us to use every resource at our disposal from building up testing capacity and expanding our healthcare workforce to supporting our vaccine rollout and mutual aid efforts,” said Governor JB Pritzker. 

The announcement comes as COVID numbers continue to decline throughout the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday only 20 counties in the state were at an elevated level for COVID-19, compared to 28 in the previous week and 73 at the beginning of the year. 

No Illinois counties are at “high” community level this week compared to three last week. Monroe and Randolph counties continue the trend of being classified in the “low” category.

“It is good news that COVID-19 community levels are continuing to decline in Illinois, with no counties listed at high level,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are seeing a gradual increase in the rate of the XBB.1.5 ‘Kraken’ variant in the Midwest and Illinois compared to last week. At this moment, it is not leading to an increase in hospitalizations. Concerns remain about this variant, but new data released by the CDC shows that the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster is protective against it – reducing the risk of symptoms by nearly half. We ask Illinoisians to remain vigilant and use readily available tools like vaccines and antiviral treatments to avoid hospitalizations and protect the most vulnerable.”

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