COVID UPDATE: Inside the doctor’s office, courtroom

When it comes to how the COVID picture is today, there are two basic categories: Health Wise and Legal Wise. From a health perspective, Vermilion County Public Health Administrator Douglas Toole says the reason IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have issued some warnings recently is because some are known variants still exist.

AUDIO: A newer version of Omicron is still the dominant one. But we’re starting to see more of Delta returning to the state. It had somehow been squeezed out by Omicron. Omicron had fairly mild symptoms for humans, and Delta was a little more serious. So I’m not happy about Delta making the rounds again.

Toole says pay attention to what’s going on and stay tuned. At the moment, Vermilion County doesn’t have any major climbs.

AUDIO: We are fortunately still in a low transmission area. We don’t have many hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID. The district hopes it stays that way.

Then there is the legal perspective. Attorney Bethany Hager has represented numerous parties in fights against COVID rules, including District 118 teachers who are fighting required COVID vaccinations and required COVID testing. Hager says a case she’s now appealing to the Illinois Supreme Court will have those teachers watched. Although they are not a specific plaintiff in the case; Hager says other parties like teachers, city workers and firefighters in different parts of the state are part of it.

AUDIO: I have a Piatt County teacher who was the only teacher in her school district who was willing to comment on this. The other two cases being combined on appeal; There are a few firefighters from the city of Beijing, and then many government employees from agencies across the state, including the Justice Department.

Hager says it’s a continuation of the “who makes the final decision” argument.

AUDIO: These questions about whether a vaccination order is public health policy or whether it’s just occupational health and safety; which there is some leeway for employers. When it comes to workplace safety alone, employers have some leeway to set their own policies.

Hager says the appeal will give the defendants an opportunity to comment before a final date is set.

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