Four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Thursday in the Capitol Complex and Bank of Springfield Center shortly before or after the Illinois House and Senate concluded their sessions for the week.
It’s unclear whether the outbreaks will play a role in when lawmakers will return to Springfield.
One case was confirmed in the Capitol Complex — which includes the Capitol building where the Senate met from Friday through Wednesday.
Three cases were confirmed through rapid testing at the BOS Center, where the House met from Friday through Thursday to accommodate social-distancing recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Steve Brown, an aide to House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside.
* WMAY’s Jim Leach…
Earlier this month, Sangamon County put out the call to health care responders – the group of people known for vaccination purposes as “Phase 1A” – to fill up available weekend slots for receive the dose at the Department of Public Health. But that weekend, I began to notice social media postings from people who weren’t health care workers who had gotten their appointment to get a shot. Curious, I tried it, too. The online form asked if I was a health care worker. I accurately answered “no”… and it then proceeded to take me through the rest of the process and schedule my appointment.
I called the health department, which acknowledged a “glitch” in the online system that allowed the general public the ability to schedule appointments. While the glitch is now fixed, the department decided to honor the appointments that had been made. I asked if I should proceed with my appointment, and was told that I should, for a couple of reasons:
* The county is going to considerable expense to schedule staff on weekends to keep up a fast pace of vaccinations. They want to make sure every slot is filled, and not a single dose goes to waste. So when appointments are made, they want to make sure they are carried out.
* County health officials are hoping that media members like myself can help spread the word about the importance of the vaccine and clear up misconceptions about it and the vaccination process. In reality, members of the media are also part of Phase 1 because of the role we play in communicating important health and safety information to the public. You may question whether we are “essential” workers; in fact, you may vehemently disagree with that characterization. And you may have a point. But that is the system that’s been set up.
* As we all know, members of Congress have been offered vaccinations under an Obama-era executive order about continuity of governance. But members of the Illinois General Assembly have to wait their turn. Growing numbers are not happy…
* I asked Gov. Pritzker on Friday whether legislators should be vaccinated. As I told subscribers that afternoon, Pritzker said elected officials will receive the vaccination when they are eligible with the rest of the population. So, for example, if they’re over 65, they can qualify when those folks are vaccinated. Pritzker pointed out that he hasn’t yet been vaccinated and that legislators would, like himself, not be eligible for “special dispensation.”
* The Question: Should legislators receive the COVID-19 vaccination ahead of the spring session? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…