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State confirms indoor mask mandate will be lifted Monday

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, and ICU bed availability continues to rise, so Gov. J.B. Pritzker confirmed on Friday, Feb. 25, that the Illinois indoor mask requirement will end Monday, Feb. 28, at 12:01 a.m.

Since the Pritzker announced on Feb. 9 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%.

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,” Pritzker said. “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.”


Masks will still be required where federally mandated (including on public transit), health care facilities, congregate settings, long-term care facilities and daycare settings.

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.

Pritzker will review the results of lifting the indoor mask mandate before making any announcement regarding the school mask mandate. A number of school districts, including Homewood District 153, have already decided to ease mask requirements.

Update on State Deployments for Testing, Vaccines and Health Care
Because of the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the state will begin winding down its mobile vaccination clinics over the next month as federal funding decreases.

Schools, organizations and other groups wanting to host a vaccination clinic should file an application within the coming weeks.

During the Delta and Omicron surges the State provided health care staffing support to hospitals and other health care facilities across the state. At the peak of the Omicron surge, Illinois had nearly 3,000 nurses and other health care workers deployed across the state to keep our health care system operating.

But as the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 falls back to pre-surge levels and with federal funding reimbursement for this support ending April 1, the state will draw down its emergency staffing support over the next month and work with our public and private partners as they retake responsibility for their long-term staffing needs.

Testing has also 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 case numbers and the demand for testing decrease, mass testing locations will close in favor of more cost-effective testing options.

COVID-19 treatment availability
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, across Illinois there are currently two monoclonal antibody treatments available, sotrovimab and bebtelovimab; two oral antivirals, Paxlovid and molnupiravir; and a preventive drug, Evusheld.

Residents should consult with health care providers as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID-19 to check on eligibility for one of these treatments and to get a prescription. COVID-19 Outpatient Therapy Locator helps find locations that can fill those prescriptions.

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