New IDPH COVID-19 Emergency Rules

Read an August 7 press release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office for details:

Building on efforts to protect Illinois’ workers and communities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will file emergency rules for businesses, schools, and child care establishments regarding the use of face coverings and the size of gatherings. The governor also signed SB471 to help protect workers who continue to serve on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

“As I’ve visited with and listened to mayors and health departments all across our state, it’s clear there is still an even greater need to get people to wear masks – especially to protect frontline workers, whether they’re at the front of a store asking you to put on your mask or whether they’re responding to 911 calls to save those in distress,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These rules, which provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued, are a commonsense way to enforce public health guidelines. Illinois has made substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19 because the vast majority of communities and business owners have done the right thing. These rules will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won’t take our state backward.”

“We know that face coverings are key to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it only works if everyone wears them,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are seeing cases increasing each day and hearing about people not complying with the masking mandate.  This rule is an effort to help keep all of us healthy and decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19.”


In an effort to maintain the progress we have made in Illinois’ COVID-19 pandemic response, the Pritzker administration is filing emergency rules for businesses, schools, and child care establishments regarding the use of face coverings and the size of gatherings.

These rules provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued, giving local health departments and local law enforcement more leeway to support community public health in a productive manner. While existing, pre-pandemic enforcement laws, like revoking a license, are stringent and severe, these rules provide flexibility for local communities and a measured process to help keep people safe. 

That process is as follows:

  • First, businesses will be given a warning in the form of written notice and encouraged to voluntarily comply with public health guidance.
  • Second, businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
  • Third, if the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75-$2,500.

These rules do not apply to individuals and penalties will not exceed a misdemeanor and a $75-$2,500 fine. 

The emergency rules also reinforce the authority of IDPH and local health departments to investigate COVID-19 cases and reaffirm that businesses have a responsibility to cooperate with those investigations.


As Illinois’ essential workers continue to serve on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, Governor Pritzker signed SB 471 to expand workplace protections. To directly protect workers in retail, the law adds a penalty for assaulting or battering a retail worker who is conveying public health guidance, such as requiring patrons to wear face-coverings or promoting social distancing. This provision sends the message that it’s vitally important for workers to be both respected and protected while serving on the front lines.

“As we continue to adapt to the changes forced on us by the current pandemic, we have to also create a response that addresses the long-time issues it has exacerbated,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford. “Our essential workers put their lives at risk for us to stay safe, and it is clear that we have to continue to do better to protect working class people with a renewed commitment to providing basic rights for everyone.”

As our state faces the challenges created by the ongoing global pandemic, we are doing all we can to support and protect our front line and essential workers,” said State Representative Jay Hoffman. “This legislation allows front line workers that have been impacted by COVID-19 to focus on recovering while sending a clear message to all our essential workers that we are behind them and will do all we can to protect their safety and well-being.”

The law also increases paid disability leave for any injury that occurs after March 9, 2020 by 60 days for firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.

More specifically, eligible employees include:

  • Any part-time or full-time State correctional officer or any other full or part-time employee of the Department of Corrections
  • Any full or part-time employee of the Prisoner Review Board
  • Any full or part-time employee of the Department of Human Services working within a penal institution or a State mental health or developmental disabilities facility operated by the Department of Human Services
  • Any full-time law enforcement officer or full-time firefighter

These measure build upon the Pritzker administration’s efforts to protect the safety and livelihood of Illinois residents by continuing to enforce all labor laws during the pandemic.

SB 471 takes effect immediately.

Rep. Rodney Davis Tests Positive For COVID-19

From WGLT reporter Eric Stock:

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis has announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Taylorville Republican said in a post on social media he was running a high temperature on Wednesday morning, so he and his wife both got tested for COVID-19, along with the rest of his staff that he’s worked with in person this week. He said while his test came back positive, all other tests were negative.

Illinois COVID-19 Cases Snapshot

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,759 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 30 additional confirmed deaths.

  • Carroll County: 1 male 80s
  • Clark County: 1 male 60s
  • Coles County: 1 female 80s
  • Cook County: 1 male 40s, 3 males 60s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
  • DuPage County: 2 females 80s
  • Gallatin County: 1 male 70s
  • Jefferson County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
  • Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
  • Lake County; 1 female 40s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
  • LaSalle County 1 male 90s
  • Rock Island County: 1 female 80s
  • St. Clair County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s
  • Union County: 1 female 70s
  • Will County: 1 male 50s
  • Winnebago County: 1 male 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 186,471 cases, including 7,573 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 46,668 specimens for a total of 2,896,063.  The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 29 – August 4 is 3.9%.  As of last night, 1,552 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 368 patients were in the ICU and 129 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IDPH is now reporting both confirmed and probable cases and deaths on its website.  Reporting probable cases will help show the potential burden of COVID-19 illness and efficacy of population-based non-pharmaceutical interventions.  IDPH will update these data once a week.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. Information for deaths previously reported has changed, therefore, today’s numbers have been adjusted.   For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email

IDPH Responding to Test Processing Delay at Some Community-Based and Mobile Testing Sites

From a news release: The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is responding to a test processing delay involving tests conducted at certain state-run sites and sent to Reditus Labs. Processing of up to 3,800 tests conducted at state community-based or mobile testing sites for COVID-19 testing between July 12-24, 2020 have been delayed beyond the appropriate laboratory testing and reporting window.

Community-based and mobile testing that may have been impacted include sites in Aurora, Bloomington, East St. Louis, Peoria, Rockford, Rolling Meadows, and South Holland. While the vast majority of the more than 450,000 tests done at these state sites and sites across Illinois during the July 12-24 time period have already received their results, IDPH recommends individuals who have not yet received their results visit a free state-run testing location to have another specimen collected. 

IDPH is working closely with Reditus Labs to improve their interface with specimen collection at state-run sites and ensure the processing of specimens moves forward in a timely manner. Specimens collected after July 24, 2020 are being processed and individuals will be promptly notified of their results.

IDPH is committed to increasing COVID-19 testing across Illinois and in continuously working to improve and streamline the process at community-based and mobile testing sites.

Regional Health Departments Express Concern as First County in Region is at Warning for COVID-19

From a news release: For the first time since Illinois entered phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan, a county in the Northern Illinois Rockford Region is at the warning level for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Jo Daviess County is considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19 today. This increase in community spread of COVID-19 is associated with travel to hotspots including neighboring Iowa and larger social gatherings.

“As a community, we must heed the warning and work together to adhere to the social distancing and masking guidance that will help slow the spread of COVID-19 while moving our community forward toward recovery,” said Sandra Schleicher, Jo Daviess County Health Department Public Health Administrator. “Our individual actions impact our local community’s ability to prevent further morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 and will impact the safety of activities in our communities like the opening of schools.”

The Health Departments in the Northern Illinois Rockford Region (NIR-HDs) express concern that the spread of COVID-19 will continue to increase in communities throughout the region and will require additional strategies to protect the public’s health. The public is urged to take steps to protect our communities and reduce the need to adhere to stricter guidance.

The public can to do their part to protect their community by consistently taking the following actions:  WEAR A FACE MASK: Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth covering  WATCH YOUR DISTANCE: Keep at least 6 feet apart from others  WASH YOUR HANDS: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds

The public can reduce the risk of becoming COVID-19 positive by leaving a place where guidelines are not being followed, people are not masking or social distancing, or the gathering is too large. Together, we can move beyond this pandemic.

For more information: Go to IDPH and CDC websites.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931

Updated FAQs for Rockford Schools Re-opening Plan

Follow this link for answers to more frequently asked questions about RPS 205 back-to-school plans.

Families must choose either in-person instruction OR full-time remote instruction by Monday, Aug. 3, for all K-12 students for the start of the 2020-21 school year:

At this time, families will be required to stay with their Aug. 3 decisions through the first trimester (elementary) or semester (middle and high school). Administrators need an accurate count of the number of students in school vs. learning from home to plan for teachers and support staff.

Find the latest information about back-to-school plans, visit Families and staff should continue to submit questions via Let’s Talk! We will continue to update the FAQs.

Fall Sports Guidelines

Some sports deemed “low-risk” will be able to continue this fall. Others will not. They’ll only be able to participate in non-contact practice. A detailed guidance document is available at

Read a press release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office:

Governor JB Pritzker announced today guidance for youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports, travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. Collegiate sports and professional leagues are not impacted by these restrictions. The guidance was developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) following consultation with a number of stakeholders including the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA).

“I know our hearts break when we hear the word ‘restrictions,’ especially when it comes to our children’s love for their sports. Whether this year is their first time on the court or it’s their senior season – this isn’t the news anyone wants to hear,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “But with rising rates of spread of the virus, with rising positivity rates throughout Illinois and the United States, this is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest one. Therefore today, my administration is releasing new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois. We have worked in consultation with the governing bodies of many of these organized sports programs, and collectively we hope that, when metrics and risks improve measurably, we will be able to restart these sports.”

The newly released guidance categorizes sports into three risk levels, lower, medium, or higher, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play. The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions. In level 1, only no-contact practices and training are allowed. In level 2, intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no competitive play. In level 3 intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only. In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

This guidance takes effect Saturday, August 15th. Based on current conditions, lower risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and higher risk sports can be played at level 1.

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