Updated: Oct 27, 2022
By: Hannah Mitchell
On October 17th, 2022, Governor Jay Robert, “J.B.,” Pritzker issued an executive order for further lessening COVID-19 mandates in Illinois, and within healthcare as well as in long-term care facilities.
According to illinois.gov, the order on face covering includes, “all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated, are recommended to wear a face covering consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.” This is a change from the former order that stated that individuals not fully vaccinated over the age of two should wear a face covering in public spaces where six feet of social distancing is not attainable.
In addition to the mask mandate change, several COVID-19 safety measures have been lifted in healthcare and long-term facilities following the recent updates from the CDC. According to a reporter for the online news website KWQC, Governor Pritzker announced on Monday that Illinois no longer requires weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated healthcare workers and long-term care workers. This latest executive order has also removed the state’s vaccine and mask mandate for healthcare employees. Face coverings, however, will be recommended in communities with high levels of transmission.
One student at the University of St. Francis, Elvia Cardenas, shared, “I am glad that this is happening. It’s a step toward post-COVID-19. However, I hope that we learned a lesson as a society about how serious stuff like this can get. So, we still need to take precautions and wear a mask when we feel sick.”
Governor Pritzker stated, “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our healthcare workers and residents, Illinois has done better at keeping our people safe with vaccines, boosters and masking which puts us in a position to continue to scale back healthcare requirements in line with the CDC.”
At this point, many people in the U.S have some sort of protection or immunity against COVID-19. This, along with the availability of tests and treatment, greatly decreases the risk of severe illnesses.
Governor Pritzker also alluded to the idea of COVID-19 becoming endemic such as the flu. This means that it will still be around but not at such a heightened and threatening level. However, despite being a lesser threat to the general population, it can still pose a danger to immunocompromised communities.
While the state’s vaccine mandate may have been lifted, a federal rule remains in place requiring vaccination for workers at Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities.
Individuals should still be cognizant of their sanitary habits to remain safe and healthy since COVID-19 is still a dangerous disease that can negatively affect health.
If interested in learning more about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters: