WIUM Tristates Public Radio


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As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported throughout Iowa reaches record highs for this year, the state's largest hospital said it is facing critical staffing shortages.

For the third day in a row, the Schuyler County Health Department is reporting a COVID-19 outbreak in Rushville.

Some Health Care Providers Hesitate to Issue COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Sep 16, 2021
Natalie Krebs/Iowa Public Radio News

On a recent Friday afternoon, dozens of people gathered outside Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. They were holding signs saying things like "freedom of choice" and "my body, my choice."

Southern Illinois' ICU availability dipped to zero Tuesday, as the region continues to battle high COVID-19 numbers in addition to other critical needs.

The Schuyler County Health Department on Tuesday reported four confirmed cases of COVID-19 related to Webster Elementary School.

Michael Leland/Iowa Public Radio News

Enforcement of Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools is on hold after a federal judge in Des Moines ruled that it creates an unfair risk for students with serious health conditions to attend class in-person.

As new coronavirus infections continue to climb and fast-spreading variants sweep the U.S., millions of Americans with autoimmune diseases are at risk.

Patients with these chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, often take medications that tamp down on their immune response — rendering some vaccinations less effective.

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Iowa's largest hospital is reporting a significant uptick in children with respiratory viruses as more of  the state's children return to school.

Rich Egger

The number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains below 50% in each county in the TSPR listening region. But local leaders hoped rates will increase now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine.

Lawsuit Targets State Ban on School Mask Mandates

Aug 27, 2021
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The mother of two Council Bluffs elementary students is suing Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education over a law that bans school districts from requiring masks.

Blue Room Stream

Illinois is the latest in a growing list of states that will require teachers and school staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the mandate Thursday morning, along with the reinstatement of a mask mandate for all Illinoisans age two and over congregating in indoor public spaces beginning Monday.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday morning will announce a reinstated mask mandate for all Illinoisans aged two and over in public indoor settings, in addition to making Illinois the seventh state in the nation to require teachers get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Iowa, and among the health care workers who have been vital to caring for the sickest patients are nurses. Now just about a year and a half into the pandemic, many are at risk of burning out.

A doctor at the OSF HealthCare Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria says she's concerned about how the upcoming fall and winter might play out with the unusual recent surge in pediatric respiratory illnesses.

Dr. Michele Beekman is a pediatric hospitalist at the Children's Hospital of Illinois, and an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. She said there are some troubling health trends emerging among kids as they head back to school.

State School Board in Illinois Gets Pushback on Mask Mandate

Aug 19, 2021

A capacity crowd packed into the Illinois State Board of Education room on Wednesday as many more stood outside the building to protest the state's new indoor mask mandate in all public and nonpublic schools.

Rich Egger

COVID-19 cases are rising once again in Illinois — and most of the U.S. — with the more contagious delta variant now making up the vast majority of new coronavirus cases, according to federal and state data.

Northern Illinois University welcomes students back to campus this week, but faculty are still concerned over a lack of certain safety policies for the coming school year.

Visitors to the Illinois State Fair, which begins next week, will be required to follow certain mitigations amid rising cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19, driven by the more transmissible Delta variant.

Both the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Agriculture today announced all fair attendees to the 10-day event, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in public indoor settings and to concerts and races in the grandstand.

Julie Hovland has talked to more people infected with COVID-19 than just about anyone. She's been a contact tracer for the Winnebago County Health Department for nearly a full year.

OSF HealthCare now says it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September.

Previously, the health care organization recommended vaccines, but left the final decision up to individuals.

OSF chief operating officer Mike Cruz said the health care group is "ethically obligated" to be vigilant about patient safety.

Rich Egger

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) said COVID-19 vaccination rates remain low in many rural parts of his district. He said he does not know why rural residents are hesitant to get inoculated.

In-Person Visits at Iowa Prisons Resume After 16 Months

Jul 14, 2021
Brian Vander Brug/LA Times Via Getty Images

Incarcerated Iowans who have waited 16 months to be able to hug a loved one are once again being allowed to visit face-to-face. In-person visits at the state's prisons have restarted for the first time since March of 2020.

Study Finds COVID-19 Vaccine Lotteries Don't Increase Vaccination Rates

Jul 7, 2021

A new study suggests lottery-based incentives do not increase COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Missouri, sparked by the fast-spreading delta variant. Federal health officials say the state is among the country's hot spots for the new mutated virus, and health officials are urging the state to redouble its efforts to vaccinate Missourians against the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Outbreak at Western Illinois Summer Camp

Jun 26, 2021
Rich Egger

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said more than 50 people at a summer camp in Schuyler County tested positive for COVID-19 this month.

As Iowa Opens Up, COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Continue to Slow

Jun 22, 2021
Natalie Krebs/Iowa Public Radio News

On a recent hot Thursday evening at the Broadway Neighborhood Center in Iowa City, a group of University of Iowa student volunteers set up a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The U of I system made the announcement Monday morning and said the decision is consistent with its scientific modeling and Illinois Department of Public Health goals.

All University of Illinois campuses plan to hold in-person classes starting in August.

A spokesman said more information will be released later for those who have conditions that preclude them from being vaccinated.

While some private schools have already announced vaccine requirements, most public schools indicated they were awaiting guidance from the state.

Rich Egger

John Smith, Interim Vice President for Student Services at Western Illinois University, said the state's universities are working together to make sure they're all on the same page about how to reopen this fall.

Businesses and social gatherings in Illinois are no longer subject to any COVID-related capacity limits as the state enters the long-awaited “Phase Five” of Gov. JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” economic reopening plan on Friday.

Rich Egger

The city administration had proposed offering a financial incentive for city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But this week it dropped the plan.