Illinois is requiring state health care workers and educators to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, The Associated Press reported.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced in a news conference Thursday that the new requirements will help protect the more vulnerable populations in the state, which includes children who haven’t qualified for the vaccine yet.
Pritzker also placed a statewide indoor mask mandate that will apply to health workers, nursing home employees and pre-K through 12th grade teachers, regardless of their vaccination status, according to the news release.
"We are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life to our communities, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system's ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help - and Illinois is taking action to keep our communities safe,” Pritzker said in the conference.
The state’s new mandates come amid the recent surge of COVID-19 infections across the nation, as the highly contagious delta variant is hitting the unvaccinated hard.
Illinois health officials reported more than 4,400 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the AP reported.
Chicago Public School System announced earlier this month that it will require its employees to be vaccinated or submit to daily testing unless they qualify for medical or religious exemptions.