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News Around Illinois – July 27, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 27, 2020.

Gov. Pritzker Replaces Officials Who Oversaw COVID-19 Response In Nursing Homes

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is replacing two top Illinois Department of Public Health officials in charge of the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 through nursing homes. Nursing home residents account for more than half of deaths in Illinois tied to the coronavirus, according to state data. The personnel moves come as the state’s daily COVID case numbers begin to shoot up again as the state opens up. Debra Bryars, the IDPH deputy director who headed the Office of Health Care Regulation, left last Monday and has been replaced by Daniel Levad, a long-time IDPH staff member, department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold confirmed. Levad, named the office’s acting deputy director, until recently was chief of an IDPH section focused on intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In his new position, he reports directly to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the IDPH director. As deputy director, Levad will oversee more than 400 staffers — nearly a third of IDPH’s workforce, including dozens of surveyors who inspect long-term care facilities and assisted-living establishments to see if they are protecting residents and staff members from infectious diseases and other threats. – Chip Mitchell – WBEZ

Illinois State Museum Reopens With Safety Measures In Place

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Museum is reopening with safety precautions in place after closing for four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The system’s flagship site in Springfield will open to the public Saturday. The Dickson Mounds site in Lewiston opened earlier in the week. So did the Illinois State Museum’s Research and Collections Center in Springfield, where visitors must make an appointment. The ISM Lockport Gallery will remain closed until further notice. – Associated Press

Bloomington To Review Facility, Supply Needs In $170M Water Master Plan

The City of Bloomington plans to explore additional water supplies to meet an anticipated rise in demand over the next two decades. That’s included in the city’s proposed 20-year water master plan. The city council will consider the plan at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Bloomington City Hall. Massachusetts-based CDM Smith produced the report after a three-year study of the city’s water infrastructure and supply needs. – Eric Stock – WGLT

Unionized Faculty And Staff Want Illinois Colleges, Universities To Start Remotely

Unionized faculty and staff at Illinois’ universities and colleges want their institutions to start almost entirely online this fall.
Employees and professors represented by 40 unions around the state, including seven of the 12 public universities, released a joint statement Thursday laying out concerns with returning to campus amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. The call comes days after the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which represents some of the faculty and staff, made a similar demand that all elementary and high schools begin online. – Mary Hansen – WUIS

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