Click to play an audio version of this article —
Information provided by the Governor’s Office
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (February 27, 2022) – Due to the continued decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and increase in available ICU beds, the Illinois indoor mask mandate will end Monday, February 28, 2022, at 12:01 a.m.
Taking off masks — mostly
Masks will still be required where federally mandated (including on public transit), health care facilities, congregate settings, long term care facilities, and daycare settings. Additionally, private businesses and municipalities may choose to implement their own masking requirements. Schools are urged to continue following state and federal guidance to help keep students and staff safe in the classroom. The Governor will review the results of lifting the indoor mask mandate before making any announcement regarding the school mask mandate.
Decreasing COVID concerns
Since Governor Pritzker announced the plan to lift the indoor mask requirement, the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has been cut in half and the number of ICU beds available increased by 24%. Illinois’ weekly COVID-19 case rate has also decreased by 70%. Additionally, more than 8 million people in Illinois are fully vaccinated with an average of approximately 16,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered each day, including more than 4,600 first doses daily.
“Today, our hospitals are much better positioned to handle emergencies and more than half of all eligible adults have been boosted; this is the progress we needed to make to remove our state indoor masking requirements,” said Pritzker. “As individuals, I encourage everyone to make the best choices going forward to protect your health, along with that of your family and community — and most importantly to treat each other with kindness and compassion.”
“We are now entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and while our focus continues to be on preventing severe illness and ensuring our health care systems aren’t overwhelmed, we are also looking forward to how we will coexist with COVID-19,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We each have a role to play in staying healthy and we have many tools that can help protect us from severe illness due to COVID-19.”
Vaccines, testing, and treatment
Vaccines continue to be readily available at pharmacies across the state, many local health departments, doctor offices, federally qualified health centers, and other locations. To find a nearby COVID-19 vaccination location, visit www.vaccines.gov.
Testing has become much more readily available with at-home tests at many pharmacies and the ability to order free COVID-19 tests at covidtest.gov. The 10 state community-based testing sites are currently open three days a week, but as the number of cases and the demand for testing decrease, mass testing locations will close in favor of more cost-effective testing options.
COVID-19 treatments can also help decrease the burden on hospitals. While vaccination and boosting are still the best protection against severe illness due to COVID-19, there are currently two monoclonal antibody treatments, sotrovimab and bebtelovimab, two oral antivirals, Paxlovid and molnupiravir, and a preventive drug, Evusheld, available across Illinois. Talk with your health care provider as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID-19 to see if you are eligible for one of these treatments and to get a prescription. You can use the COVID-19 Outpatient Therapy Locator to find a location to fill your prescription.