SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The state public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic has ended after more than three years.
Governor J.B. Pritzker let the public health emergency declaration expire Thursday. He also signed a proclamation declaring Thursday “Illinois Public Health and Health Care Hero Day”.
“With the heroic efforts of our healthcare workers and institutions, the perseverance and grit of the people of Illinois, and with 26 million vaccine doses administered, I couldn’t be happier to announce today that all national and state COVID-19 related emergency declarations have finally come to an end,” Pritzker said. “Although today marks the official end of our state’s emergency declarations, we are taking this moment to ensure that we learn lessons from the pandemic experience so we can prepare for the future and save lives in the years ahead.”
The governor initially issued the first emergency order on March 9, 2020. The World Health Organization declared the disease “no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern” Friday.
Last week, IDPH reported that all of Illinois’ counties had low levels of COVID-19 transmission.
The federal pandemic response ended Thursday, meaning some of the past ways of tracking transmission of a disease will no longer be collected and released to the public.
“We want the public to know that due to changes in federal reporting requirements some of the COVID-19 data that we have been collecting will change after May 11,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said Friday. “However, IDPH will still have reliable methods for tracking COVID-19 in Illinois.”
Some ways that will be discontinued include the CDC ending its reporting of counties as low medium or high risk of COVID-19, and hospitals are no longer to required how many of their patients are on ventilators or are in the ICU. The Department will still release weekly figures of vaccinations, cases, hospitalizations and deaths and continue to monitor wastewater for COVID and the flu.
SIU School of Medicine and IDPH is offering telehealth appointments to Illinois residents who test positive to provide quicker access to treatments. More can be found on SIU’s website.
Agency officials said testing is still available at several locations in the state, as well as rapid tests sent to households is economically disadvantaged communities brought in partnership with Rockerfeller Foundation’s Project ACT.
IDPH recommends visiting their online dashboard for more information about COVID-19.
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District wants to remind that people can still order at-home COVID-19 tests from USPS. Addresses are eligible if their last order of tests was before December 15.