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Douglas County Health Department’s update

By Colleen Lehmann 
Discontinuance of mandated masking indoors for many Illinois entities became a reality today. This was the date most businesses, restaurants and other venues no longer have to require mask wearing via state decree. However, it still remains possible for these entities to require masks for entry if they so choose. 

The State of Illinois has also chosen to lift mask mandates for schools at this time, starting today, but retains the authority to reinstate mask wearing if the situation warrants it. This right was preserved when the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday, Feb. 25 vacated a temporary restraining order (TRO) in a multi-school district lawsuit seeking to deem the school-based mask mandate unconstitutional. 

Places where masks are still mandated at this time include public transportation and healthcare settings, including long-term and congregate care facilities. 

Changes have also been made in how the CDC determines community transmission of COVID. I have attached a press release but, long story short, the primary 7-day variables include new COVID hospital admissions and COVID in-patient percentage. 

COVID by the numbers
Appointment-based COVID testing at J600 continues, with hours Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. From Feb. 21-25, DCHD had a total of 59 rapid and PCR tests scheduled. A recent shipment of rapid tests means DCHD can once again offer rapid testing to both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. 

IDPH figures from Feb. 25 show the 7-day rolling positivity rate (rapid and PCR testing) for Douglas County residents was 2.2 percent, and for Region 6 that number was 2.5 percent. There was a Douglas County COVID death reported on Friday, the fifth one in February, and brings the county’s COVID death total to 61. 

IDPH data as of Feb. 25 shows 51.52 percent of Douglas County residents have had at least one vaccine dose, while 47.43 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. There have been 4,298 booster doses administered to county residents. 

Diabetes Support Group
The Diabetes Support Group sponsored by DCHD continues to meet monthly at the DCHD conference room at the main building on Route 36. Meetings are held on a Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and are conducted by registered dietitian Kristina Adams Smith. Remaining 2022 dates are March 23, April 27, May 25, June 22, July 27, August 24, September 28, October 26, November 16, and December 21. For more information or to register for the group, call Smith at 217-493-8970 or email her at

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