WIUM Tristates Public Radio

COVID-19

The messages that worked to persuade unvaccinated people to roll up their sleeves this spring may not work anymore. That's according to new survey research, which also finds some pro-vaccine messages can backfire and lead to greater hesitancy.

Courtesy of University of Northern Iowa

Students in Steve O'Kane's plant systematics class at the University of Northern Iowa penned a letter of support for him Tuesday, defending his actions to "protect the health and safety of students in his classroom."

Natalie Krebs/Iowa Public Radio News

The Meskwaki Nation's Tribal Health Center is getting national recognition for its wide-reaching COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

The McDonough County Health Department is reporting Covid-19 outbreaks at two schools and an assisted living facility.

Courtesy WIU

Many colleges and universities welcomed students back on campus this fall despite the ongoing pandemic. That presents the challenge of keeping everyone safe from COVID-19.

Health Experts Push Iowans to Get Flu Shot as COVID-19 Hospitalizations Increase

Sep 28, 2021
Sam Moqadam/Unsplash

Health officials are urging Iowans to get their annual flu shot as the state's hospitals battle the most recent wave of COVID-19 infections.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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.

Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash

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.

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.

Prolific anti-COVID mitigation attorney Tom DeVore on Monday filed suit over Gov. JB Pritzker’s mandate requiring all students, faculty and staff at Illinois schools wear masks in the face of the coronavirus’ more contagious Delta variant spreading across the state.

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.

Rich Egger

The McDonough County Health Department said community spread of COVID-19 in the county is now at what the CDC calls a substantial level.

Natalie Krebs

Gov. Kim Reynolds has released a statement calling the updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "not grounded in reality or common sense."

Rich Egger

The Macomb School District will hold in-person classes when the new school year begins in mid-August. But to do that during the ongoing pandemic, the district is implementing a number of precautionary measures.

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.

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.

Rich Egger/TSPR file photo

Less than 50% of west central Illinois residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Dr. Ed Card, Chief Medical Officer at McDonough District Hospital, said that should be a concern for everyone.

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