Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021

Another judge rules in school quarantine case

Another judge said quarantine orders filed through court proceedings are needed, despite a new executive order from the governor outlining who can be excluded from school.

A Madison County judge in the Third Judicial Circuit Tuesday ruled against Bond County schools for quarantining and masking certain students without official quarantine orders that include due process.

Attorney Thomas DeVore says he’s secured 14 such rulings in the past few weeks.

Rideshare driver aims to depose IDPH director in mask case

A rideshare driver in Chicago that has a complaint against the Illinois Department of Public Health over mask mandates is giving state officials notice of deposition as his case continues.

Representing himself, Justin Mahwikizi says the mask mandate violates his rights.

A judge said the state must respond to his requests for documents. Mahwikizi is looking to depose IDPH officials. The Illinois Attorney General’s office wouldn’t comment.

Nursing home workers less than 50% vaccinated

A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine shows nursing home workers are less than 50% vaccinated nationwide as of July 18.

According to the latest figures from the AARP COVID-19 dashboard, just 31% of Illinois nursing homes have a vaccination rate of at least 75% for all staff.

Vaccines will be required for all state employees at congregate housing facilities.

The deadline for compliance is Oct. 4.

Pritzker announces union agreement

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an agreement with a labor union representing workers in congregate settings like the Illinois Department of Corrections, to get vaccinated.

The agreement requires such employees to have their first COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 14, and the second shot by Nov. 18.

If not, there’ll be progressive discipline, including possible discharge. There are medical and religious exemptions.

Negotiations with other state employees continue.

$327 million in heating help on the way

Around $327 million is being made available for low-income households to pay for energy bills, food, rent and other household expenses.

The funds through the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant Program are available to eligible households regardless of immigration status.

Illinois recognizes National Farm Safety and Health Week

Nearly 600 people die every year in farming-related accidents nationally. The state of Illinois is recognizing this week as National Farm Safety and Health Week.

As the harvest gets underway in Illinois, state officials note that most farmworker injuries and death are caused by tractor overturns.

The state is urging farmers not to overwork themselves and take care of their mental health.

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