Illinois’ COVID-19 disaster proclamation to end in May

Exactly 38 months after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, Illinois will no longer be under a disaster proclamation effective May 11, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday.

This is the same day President Joe Biden will end the national health emergency, which just passed the three-year mark last week. The White House announced the end date for May 11 on Monday.

Pritzker declared a public health emergency two days before the WHO declared the pandemic and has renewed its disaster declaration every 30 days since then.

The repeated proclamations gave the governor the power to take COVID-related measures such as closing schools, issuing stay-at-home orders and ordering masks and vaccines. But they were a source of consternation for Pritzker’s political opponents.

The governor had slowly rolled back his COVID-19 mandates over the past year, including an action in October when he rolled back healthcare vaccine, testing and mask requirements.

But Illinois is still one of seven states with some sort of COVID-related emergency declaration on its books.

These disaster declarations have allowed these states — including Republican-run Texas — to continue to capitalize on the excesses of COVID-era federal reimbursements for programs like Medicaid, additional benefits for those with food stamps, and the ability to quickly deploy emergency responders to get in Respond to areas of need, such as hospitals, with severe staffing shortages.

“Our state’s disaster proclamation and executive orders have enabled us to utilize all the resources at our disposal, from building testing capacity and expanding our health care workforce to supporting our vaccine rollout and mutual aid efforts,” Pritzker said in an explanation.

According to Pritzker, 1.4 million children in Illinois received nutritional support through the additional benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He also pointed to the expansion of telemedicine during the pandemic as part of his disaster declaration, which was largely transformed into state law after proving popular with doctors and patients alike.

“Let me be clear: COVID-19 has not gone away,” Pritzker said in the statement. “It’s still a real and present danger for people with compromised immune systems — and I urge all Illinois residents to get vaccinated or get their booster shots if you haven’t already.”

Opponents of Pritzker’s repeated issuance of disaster proclamations have insisted that the governor is limited to the 30 days required by state law, but legal challenges to that end ultimately collapsed after months of litigation.

The governor’s disaster declaration also enabled the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center, which brokered collaboration among heads of various state agencies in response to COVID-19.

In a message to Congress Monday, Biden wrote that waiting until May for the national health emergency to end will avert “widespread chaos and uncertainty across the health care system” as if it were facing the “abrupt end” Republicans wanted. controlled house.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide and hundreds of radio and television stations. It is primarily funded by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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