Pritzker considering mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for state employees as case counts rise

New COVID-19 cases continued their rise in Illinois over the weekend as calls to make vaccinations mandatory grow louder and gain more traction.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,892 new infections diagnosed over the past three days, and the state is averaging nearly 1,300 new cases a day over the past week.

New York City and California officials are requiring either immunizations or weekly testing for many public employees as cases in those locations rise and vaccination rates stagnate.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears to be considering a similar move.

“Vaccines have proven to be the single most effective way to prevent serious illness and death, and he encourages all eligible Illinoisans to get vaccinated,” said Emily Bittner, a governor's office spokeswoman. “As private hospitals and employers move to mandate vaccination for their employees, the administration is also reviewing its options for mandating vaccines, particularly for state employees who work in congregate or health care settings.”

The state's seven-day case positivity rate climbed to 3.5% over the weekend, the highest it's been since May 1.

Despite incentive programs to spur people to get vaccinated, like the state's weekly summertime lottery program that announced $100,000 winners from Vernon Hills, Bolingbrook and Champaign County on Monday, Illinois' vaccination rate has leveled off for the better part of two weeks.

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