Oak Hill getting back on track

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anged daily operations for both staff and patients in all areas of the health care industry, including long-term care facilities like Oak Hill senior living and rehabilitation center in Waterloo.

According to an updated executive order from Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday morning,  Illinois is taking another step toward getting back to pre-COVID health care norms.  

As a result of the latest order, effective immediately, Illinois’ state COVID health care guidelines will align with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As such, unvaccinated employees of health care and long-term care facilities are no longer required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Also, the Illinois Department of Public Health will no longer require face coverings at health care facilities, although they will still be recommended in areas of “high community transmission.”

The state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers is also lifted, although a federal regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services remains in place.

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our health care workers and residents, Illinois … (is) in a position to continue to scale back health care requirements in line with the CDC,” Pritzker said, adding, “COVID-19 is on its way to becoming endemic, like the flu.”

Just hours before Monday’s announcement, Oak Hill Administrator Shari Kruep during a report to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners predicted IDPH would make the move to align with the CDC by the end of the month. 

The recently revised executive order is not the only good news for Oak Hill.

Kruep told commissioners the facility’s census numbers, which had been below budget projections much of the year, are “good.”

She said the Evergreen Pointe rehabilitation facility is currently exceeding capacity and Oak Hill’s Arbor Court wing is being used to accommodate the overflow.

Kruep also noted Oak Hill has added employees, leading to a decreased need for more expensive temporary help provided by staffing agencies.

Also during the meeting, commissioners approved a report of county road district finances presented by Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger.

Metzger also told commissioners a project to create a signalized pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Route 3 and Country Club Lane/HH Road is “on hold” due to a materials delay.

He said the signals needed to complete the crossing will not be delivered until February 2023 at the earliest.

Metzger said the concrete work can be done in the winter during favorable weather, but without all necessary supplies on hand he did not want to begin the project if he was not confident it could be completed.

In other county news, the second installment of property tax payments is due to the Monroe County Treasurer’s Office by Nov. 4 if not already paid in full. 

To pay online or for more information, visit monroecountyil.gov/departments/treasurers-office.

The next meeting of the Monroe County Board will be held Monday, Nov. 7, at the Monroe County Courthouse beginning at 8 a.m.

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