Legislative leaders cancel most January session dates due to COVID-19 surge

Members of the Illinois House meet on October 28, 2021.
Members of the Illinois House meet on October 28, 2021.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 4:09 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - The recent surge in COVID-19 cases will sideline Illinois lawmakers for most of January.

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon announced Thursday that the General Assembly will start the 2022 session on Wednesday. However, they have canceled session dates for Tuesday and Thursday next week.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 30,386 confirmed and probable new cases and 87 deaths on Thursday. 196,449 tests were conducted over the last 24 hours. The 7-day rolling positivity rate is 10.2%.

IDPH officials said there were 128,246 new confirmed and probable cases since Dec. 23. The state also reported another 386 deaths during that time. 27,821 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.

Lawmakers likely won’t return to Springfield the week of Jan.11, either, due to the significant rise in cases.

Welch says they must take necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe.

“In the past two weeks, Illinois’ daily average of COVID-19 cases increased 130%, and hospitalizations have risen 50%,” Welch said. “This pandemic is not over.”

Harmon also noted state lawmakers have proven they can still work remotely and keep people healthy.

“We continue to monitor the situation in an effort to protect our colleagues, our staffs and everyone else who is part of a legislative session day,” Harmon said.

Both leaders encouraged everyone to take advantage of free COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

70,096 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 81.6% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 73.2% of people in the same age range are fully vaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 46,046.

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