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Visiting a Southern Illinois coal mine. Jason will fight for quality Southern Illinois jobs

Plummer to Host Blood Drive with Moose Lodge 1561

Senator Jason Plummer will be hosting a blood drive with Moose Lodge 1561 on Tuesday, December 2.

 

Blood Drive Dec 2 2020

 


New Statewide COVID Restrictions

Beginning Friday, November 20, new statewide COVID restrictions took effect across Illinois. Under these mitigations announced by Governor J.B. Pritzker, museums and casinos in Illinois will be closed, and retail spaces will face new capacity limits. New restrictions will also impact group fitness classes and indoor sports.

Below are the new mitigations that took effect Friday, November 20, 2020, at 12:01 am:  


Retail (Including Service Counters)

  • Operate at no more than 25% capacity, including general merchandise stores, "big box" stores that offer groceries and pharmacy, and convenience stores
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at up to 50% capacity
  • Encourage delivery or curbside pickup options wherever possible
  • When in-store shopping is necessary, promote efficient trips and consistent circulation

Personal Care Service

  • Operate at lesser of 25 clients or 25% capacity
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by clients and service providers
  • Suspend services where a face covering cannot be worn (e.g. facials, beard trims)
  • Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed as deemed necessary by a medical provider, but appointments must be spaced by a minimum of 15 minutes and facilities should take steps to sanitize and circulate clean air through service rooms before and after each service
  • Virtual consultations recommended

Health and Fitness Centers

  • Operate at no more than 25% capacity
  • No indoor group classes
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing
  • Reservations required
  • Locker room areas should be closed

Hotels

  • Hotel room occupancy should be limited to registered guests only, with the maximum allowance being the number of individuals permissible per existing fire code for each applicable guest room
  • Fitness centers should be closed, or operated only on a reservation model, with capacity limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy for the room.
  • Grab and go food allowed
  • Event and meeting space closed

Manufacturing

  • Additional COVID training for all employees required even if previous training occurred
  • Operators should coordinate with IDPH to implement testing protocols and contact tracing, upon request, consistent with available testing supplies
  • All employees must wear face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking. Exemptions only for safety purposes.
  • Only manufacturing staff and key personnel allowed in facilities. Non-production employees must work remotely. Non-essential staff and visitors are not permitted. Exemptions only for critical equipment repairs, supply deliveries and safety reasons (“critical visitors”).
  • All critical visitors must have an Employee Health and Safety (EHS)-approved risk-assessment done in advance, including travel history, tracking, and temperature check prior to entrance.
  • Implement additional workstation realignment when feasible
  • Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings
  • Station sanitation required at beginning and ending of shifts
  • Operators must suspend covid-related incentive pay and promote staying home when sick or showing symptoms
  • Implement temporary leave policies to accommodate workers who are sick
  • Develop and implement safety protocols for employee travel vans to promote spacing, require face coverings, temperature checks, air circulation, and vehicle sanitization

Bars and Restaurants

  • All bars and restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
  • No indoor service
  • All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • No tables exceeding 6 people
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table
  • Indoor gaming terminals must suspend operations
  • Includes private clubs and country clubs

Meetings, social events and gatherings (including weddings, potlucks, etc.)

  • Limit in home gatherings to household members
  • Meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms, private clubs and country clubs may not host gatherings
  • No party buses
  • Funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents, not including staff, see IDPH guidance

Office

  • All employees who can work remotely should work remotely

Organized group recreational activities (sports, indoor sports and activity facilities, etc.)

  • Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation)
  • Includes park districts and travel leagues
  • Outdoor sports and recreation allowed
  • Participant groups and practices outdoors limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing
  • Face coverings required for all activities at all times
  • Locker rooms should be closed

Indoor recreation, theaters, cultural Institutions (e.g. casinos, bowling, arcades, movie theaters, museums and zoos)

  • Gaming and casinos close
  • Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers close
  • Live streaming of performances encouraged with social distancing of performers and minimum operational staff
  • Outdoor activities allowed at 25% capacity or less
  • Outdoor group activities limited to 10 persons or less, participants/guests must wear face coverings at all times
  • Reservations required for each guest for outdoor activities

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring periods to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 7-day 12 percent test positivity average for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days AND declining 7-day COVID hospitalizations average in 7 out of the last 10 days.

For more information visit: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-mitigation-plan.


Small Business Grants Still Available

Millions of dollars are still available through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program for businesses who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 closures. 

The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program that provides economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities, and other operational costs.

The first wave of grant funding gave priority to small businesses that were heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in DIAs. In that wave, more than 2,800 business received funding relief.

Now, DCEO is accepting applications to disperse over $200 million in remaining funds for the grant program. For this round, nearly all businesses and non-profits with an annual revenue under $20 million are eligible to apply.

Particular consideration will be given to businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.  

For all applicants, priority will be given to businesses that:

  • Did not receive PPP or other forms of emergency aid from the CARES Act or the State.
  • Are located in DIAs.
  • Are subject to mitigation measures implemented by the state or local governments due to COVID resurgence.
  • Have less than $5 million in annual revenue.
  • Experienced revenue losses since March exceeding 50%.
  • Are independently owned retail, tourism or hospitality-related, and other hard-hit industries.

More information on the second round of funding can be found here.


Enhancing investigative authority is key to cracking down on corruption

While Illinois has some of the strongest ethics laws on the books, many are rendered toothless because the appropriate state and local authorities can’t adequately investigate and enforce them.


As part of the anti-corruption legislative package sponsored by Senate Republicans, several components aim to enhance the ability to investigate and prosecute crimes, including:

• Allowing the Attorney General to use a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute corruption.
• Changing State RICO law to give wiretap authority to states attorneys to investigate crimes of public corruption.
• Giving the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate and issue subpoenas without prior consent of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
• Changing the composition of the LEC to make all members of the general public and not sitting legislators.

Ahead of veto session, Senate Republicans urge democrats to take action on these measures. If you agree, sign my petition calling on anti-corruption reform here.


Week-in-review: Oct. 19-23

Mitigations place​d on Region 5 

On October 19, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health placed new regional restrictions on Region 5 beginning Thursday, October 22.

According to a news release from Illinois Department of Public Health, the mitigation measures include: 

Bars

  • No indoor service
  • All outside bar service closes at 11 p.m.
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

  • No indoor dining or bar service
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11 p.m.
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, social events, gatherings

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25% capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

IDPH and the Pritzker Administration placed region 5 under harsher restrictions after the area witnessed a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent for three straight days. 

The Governor had stated that restrictions would remain in place until the positivity rate dropped below 6.5% for three consecutive days.

Region 5 consists of Alexander, Bond, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St Clair, Saline, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White, Williamson counties.

Vote by Mail 

With the November election just around the corner, voting by mail remains an option for voters to cast their ballot prior to Election Day.

Registered voters can request a vote by mail ballot through the mail or in-person. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is October 29. Meanwhile, the deadline for all in-person early voting requests must be made by November 2.

A vote by mail application must include:

  • Name
  • Home Address
  • Address where the voter would like application to be mailed
  • Party Affiliation for Primary Election
  • Signature
  • Any vote by mail ballot must be placed into the certification envelope provided
  • The certification on the envelope must be completed, signed, and the envelope sealed. Mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day, and must be received within 14 days of the election. All vote by mail ballots are processed centrally.

If a voter has requested a vote by mail ballot but decides to vote at a polling place on Election Day they must submit their vote by mail ballot, or a portion of the ballot, for cancellation when they arrive.

If a voter requested but has not received their vote by mail ballot or their ballot was not received by the election authority, they will be asked to fill out an affidavit to that fact.  

Another option for voters is to vote early. Registered voters may cast a ballot prior to Election Day without having to provide a reason for wanting to vote early. This ballot is cast by in-person at the office of the election authority or at an Early Voting Center.​


Small Business Grants Still Available

Millions of dollars are still available through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program for businesses who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 closures. 

The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program that provides economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities, and other operational costs.

The first wave of grant funding gave priority to small businesses that were heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in DIAs. In that wave, more than 2,800 business received funding relief.

Now, DCEO is accepting applications to disperse over $200 million in remaining funds for the grant program. For this round, nearly all businesses and non-profits with an annual revenue under $20 million are eligible to apply.

Particular consideration will be given to businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.  

For all applicants, priority will be given to businesses that:

  • Did not receive PPP or other forms of emergency aid from the CARES Act or the State.
  • Are located in DIAs.
  • Are subject to mitigation measures implemented by the state or local governments due to COVID resurgence.
  • Have less than $5 million in annual revenue.
  • Experienced revenue losses since March exceeding 50%.
  • Are independently owned retail, tourism or hospitality-related, and other hard-hit industries.


More information on the second round of funding can be found here.


Sign the petition to demand anti-corruption reform

As the Fall Veto Session approaches, the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus is encouraging the public to sign their petition urging Democrats to end their stall tactics and take up real anti-corruption reform.

In the last year, four Illinois democrat legislators have been indicted on charges ranging from bribery to ghost payrolling and federal tax evasion. Another, Speaker Madigan, is under investigation as part of what could possibly be the largest bribery scheme in Illinois state government history. In that time, not a single piece of anti-corruption legislation has been signed into law.

Additionally, last veto session, democrats ignored the calls from Senate Republicans for reform, and instead, created the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform which, a year later, has failed to submit a final report and hasn’t even met since March 5.

Ahead of veto session, Senate Republicans have put forward a common-sense package that would hold legislators accountable and enhance the laws that are already on the books.

Reforms are on the table and action should be taken now.

If you agree, sign the petition here. 


Metro East Restrictions Lifted, Rules Remain for Region 1

Metro East Restrictions Lifted, Rules Remain for Region 1

Citing a downward trend in the COVID-19 positivity rate for the Metro East (Region 4), Governor Pritzker announced on Friday that the area would return to the same Phase 4 rules as most of the rest of Illinois. The area includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington counties.

Indoor dining and bar service, along with larger crowd size limits (50 people for gatherings) will resume. The region had been under stricter mitigations since mid-August, when IDPH reported the state’s positivity rate had surpassed 8 percent. The Governor had stated that restrictions would remain in place until the positivity rate dropped below 6.5% for three consecutive days, which it did on Friday.

Region 1, including much of Northern and Northwestern Illinois, remains under tightened restrictions. The region includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties. The positivity rate for the area has been increasing slightly during the week and remains above 8 percent.

National Manufacturers Month

The Illinois Manufactures’ Association is partnering together with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to recognize National Manufacturers Month throughout October. The month-long celebration highlights the work of those in the manufacturing industry and the vital role it plays in Illinois.

Throughout the state, approximately 555,000 men and women are employed in the manufacturing sector. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, over 56 billion in manufactured goods were exported in 2019. This month-long awareness campaign celebrates the state’s innovate sector and underscores how the manufacturing industry drives the economy.  

National Manufacturers Month is also an opportunity to promote and advocate for future growth and development within the manufacturing industry. According to the IMA, over the next decade it is estimated that 300,000 men and women will leave the industry as they retire, creating well-paying positions and opportunities for future Illinois students and residents.

Especially as the state continues to confront the daily realities of the COVID-19 health pandemic, Senate Republicans note it is more important than ever that lawmakers support the industries that create jobs and opportunities in the state.

Harvest Underway for Most of Illinois

While many Illinois industries are still struggling with the COVID economy, the state’s agriculture sector is having a mostly positive harvest.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), farmers have harvested just over a quarter of the state’s corn and soybean crop, well ahead of their progress at the same time in 2019.

Only 46 percent of Illinois corn acres are rated as good or excellent, along with 43 percent of the beans, with much of that having to do with the wet spring and early flooding, as well as the August derecho that caused damage in parts of Northern Illinois.

The crops themselves are getting more valuable by the day, however, with corn and soybean prices rising substantially over the last month, meaning a potentially better bottom line for farms. During the week, soybean prices broke the $10.50 per bushel mark, the highest level since 2018, and corn prices rebounded to nearly $4 per bushel.

Madigan Hearings Postponed Until After Election

Earlier last week, the appointed democratic chairman of the Illinois House Committee tasked with investigating allegations of wrongdoing involving House Speaker Michael Madigan announced that panel will hold no further hearings until after the election.

The panel was formed to look into issues brought to light in a deferred prosecution agreement between ComEd and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the office of the U.S. attorney, "ComEd admitted it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts, for various associates of a high-level elected official for the state of Illinois, to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its business.” The “high-level elected official” was later identified as Madigan.

The committee is scheduled to meet again on November 5th.

State Records First West Nile Death of 2020

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state had recently its first West Nile death for the year. So far, 24 cases of the virus have been reported in Illinois this year.

According to IDPH, West Nile Virus, which is transmitted via mosquito bite, remains a risk until the first hard frost of the year. While four out of five people infected with West Nile will show no symptoms, the risks are higher for individuals over 50 and those who are immunocompromised.

Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.

REDUCE – eliminate or refresh each week, all sources of standing water. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. 

REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535.

REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.  The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.


Week-in-Review: Sept. 28 - Oct. 2

Plummer joins with Senate Republicans to push for anti-corruption legislative package

In response to the continued issues of corruption and ethics violations by lawmakers, State Senator Jason Plummer is joining together with members of the Senate Republican Caucus to introduce a package of bills seeking to root out government corruption among members of the General Assembly.

While Illinois already has some strong anti-corruption laws in place, Senate Republicans say many of them are rendered toothless because the appropriate authorities aren’t given adequate ability to investigate wrongdoing.

To address these shortcomings, the legislative package proposes the following enhancements:

  • Senate Bill 4012: Allows the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly.
  • Senate Bill 4013: Provides states attorneys with wiretap authority.
  • Senate Bill 4014: Grants the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, and changes the composition of the Legislative Ethics Commission to make them all members of the general public rather than legislators. 

Within the last year, a number of legislators have been indicted, and another is currently under investigation. During that same time period, the General Assembly hasn’t had a single ethics reform bill passed into law.

The Senate Republican anti-corruption legislative package also includes measures to ensure that legislators serve the public’s interest and not their own pocketbooks. 

Proposals include:​

  • Senate Bill 4015: Bans legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation.
  • Senate Bill 4016: Creates a revolving door legislator-to-lobbyist prohibition for one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term, whichever is longer.
  • Senate Bill 4017: Prohibits a legislator from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign fund to support lobbying activities. Also prevents an appointee to a board or commission that is confirmed by the Senate from fundraising for or donating from their campaign committee while serving as an appointed public official
  • Senate Bill 4018: Updates the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

Senate Republicans hope that the legislative package will achieve two main objectives: enhancing investigative authority within existing laws and ensuring legislators are serving the public’s interest.

 

Halloween Guidance issued by IDPH

As residents begin preparations for the holiday season, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has issued their guidance on Halloween festivities.

In phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, trick-or-treating will be permitted.  

IDPH recommends those who decide to participate in trick-or-treating this year to follow these recommendations:

- Anyone participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain 6-feet of social distance and wear proper face coverings.
- Consider leaving individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) on a table in driveways or in front of walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space where 6-feet of distance can be maintained.
- A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Ensure that breathing is not impaired if a cloth mask is worn under a costume mask.  If so, discard the costume mask.
- Trick-or-treat in groups with household members only.
- Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be eaten until after handwashing.

Pumpkin patches and orchards are permitted to operate during this time, with IDPH reminding attendees to follow mask and social distancing requirements. Meanwhile, hayrides are permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity under safe social distancing guidelines. Haunted houses will not be permitted to operate under Phase 4 guidance of the Restore Illinois plan.

Click here to see IDPH’s Halloween guidelines.

 

Motorists reminded to watch for deer

As Illinois enters into the peak season for deer-vehicle crashes, motorists are reminded to be on the lookout for deer on the roadways.

In 2019, a total of 16,213 crashes involved deer in Illinois with more than 40 percent of crashes occurring in October, November and December.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are encouraging drivers to be aware of the uptick in deer and encouraging motorists to follow these steps:

• Be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with deer crossing signs.
• Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
• Slow down if you see a deer. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.
• Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road or double back.
• Deer are adaptable and can flourish in rural, suburban and urban environments.
• If a collision is inevitable, try to glance your vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into opposite lanes of traffic.

If you hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights and call 911 to report the accident. Drivers should not exit the vehicle to check on an injured deer or pull it from the road.

For more information on how to claim a deer that was involved in a crash, click here. To report possession of a deer killed in a deer-vehicle crash, click here.


Livestock, poultry producers able to receive COVID-19 funding assistance

$5 million in business recovery funding is available for livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants suffering interruptions as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This funding if part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants program.

Online applications are available now through October 31, 2020 and can be found here.

Financial assistance will be made available through three programs administered by IDOA:

  • Swine Depopulation Program: Covers the costs and expenses of swine producers associated with the depopulation and disposal of livestock due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency on or after April 15, 2020. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Agriculture Business Interruption Program: Covers monetary losses and expenses of livestock producers due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency during the period of April 15-May 15, 2020. Eligible expenses are costs associated with holding livestock (swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, lambs, poultry and meat goats) and livestock-related products for an extended period of time. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Meat and Poultry Capacity Program: Covers costs for operations and costs associated with facility improvements necessary to decrease or eliminate COVID-19 related slowdowns and mitigate capacity reductions. Businesses must have no more than 60 employees. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $25,000 for eligible expenses.

 
 

Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month

October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness month, dedicated to raising awareness about safe sleeping environments for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation.

Each year, approximately 3,500 infant fatalities are attributed to SUID, with unsafe sleep being the leading cause of death for children one year old and younger.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reminding parents and caregivers to follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep to help promote a safe sleeping environment:

· Alone—Babies should sleep alone in their own bed.
· Back – Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs.
· Crib – Babies should be placed in a safety-approved crib.


Plummer to Host Blood Drive with Moose Lodge 1561

Blood Drive
Hosted by State Senator Jason Plummer & Moose Lodge 1561
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
1:00PM - 7:00PM

Moose Lodge 1561
7371 Marine RD.(RTE 143)
Edwardsville, IL 62025

Appointments Required for Social Distancing
Visit RedCrossBlood.org to schedule an appointment.

 

Blood Drive Information Sept 30 2020


Citing Major Issues with COVID-19 Data, Schimpf and Plummer Call on Pritzker to Reopen Metro East Immediately

Significant issues with the state's COVID-19 reporting and tracking methods are likely affecting the accuracy of the published positivity rate for the Metro East region, prompting State Senators Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) and Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) to call on Governor Pritzker to immediately remove the increased restrictions on IDPH Region 4.

"As more and more facts call into question the accuracy of the positivity rate for Region 4, I find it unconscionable that the State of Illinois is shutting down businesses and destroying livelihoods based on a metric that is clearly neither meaningful nor accurate," said State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo). "Governor Pritzker needs to immediately lift the mitigation measures he imposed on our region several weeks ago."

Schimpf and Plummer noted several issues with the state's data reporting and collection methodology, which could be creating an inaccurate and inflated rate for the region. They noted that IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike confirmed that until recently, Illinois was not including data from some of the largest hospitals and healthcare facilities in the region.  One of those networks, BJC HealthCare, provides healthcare to 30% of Metro East residents at several hospitals and clinics in Missouri and Illinois.

“This is a crisis impacting everyone so the lack of transparency and zero accountability from this administration must end,” said State Senator Jason Plummer.  “It is shockingly callous for Governor Pritzker and his allies to knowingly use faulty data to implement arbitrary rules that have destroyed economic opportunity for many Illinoisans.  Our priority should be to protect the most vulnerable, but this administration is exacerbating the crisis by creating economic hardship and additional health issues for many desperate families.”

Because many Metro East residents utilize Missouri hospitals for medical care and COVID-19 testing services, only including positive test results from those providers would dramatically increase the reported positivity rate for the region.

The Senators also pointed to issues with data collection state-wide, such as individuals being counted multiple times and individuals in state facilities, such as prisons, who do not mingle in the general population being counted.  Additionally, according to health officials, some private labs may be submitting only positive results because those are the only results that they are required to release.