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COVID-19 in Illinois: Pritzker to issue statewide indoor mask mandate

CHICAGO — Illinoisans will be forced to put their COVID-19 masks back on Thursday, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to issue a statewide face-covering mandate for everyone 2 and older.

According to sources who contacted several news outlets, the mandate will include all indoor spaces including bars, restaurants, stores, theaters, gyms and churches.

The governor is also expected to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all K-12 and higher education employees, the source said.

Pritzker is scheduled to announce the mandates at 10 a.m. during a press conference at the Thompson center. They will come just two days after he warned that he would impose “significantly greater mitigations” if the state’s COVID-19 situation worsens.

“I will remind you that if we are not able to bring these numbers down, if hospitals continue to fill, if the hospital beds and ICUs get full like they are in Kentucky — that’s just next door to Illinois — if that happens, we’re going to have to impose significantly greater mitigations,” Pritzker said at a Tuesday press conference.

In Region 1, which includes Boone, DeKalb and Winnebago counties, as of Tuesday, Aug. 24, of the 171 total ICU beds, 22 were available. Of the region’s 343 ventilators, there are 229 available.

Statewide, 505 ICU beds meaning 2,639 beds are currently occupied. There were 1,580 ventilators being used from the statewide inventory of 5,516.

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