Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced an indoor mask mandate for all residents and vaccination requirements for certain groups, including health care workers, teachers, and college students, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Illinois, and Mississippi.
- Georgia: Delta Air Lines last week announced "increasingly burdensome" requirements for unvaccinated employees that will go into effect over the coming months in an effort to encourage vaccination, the New York Times reports. Unvaccinated employees are now required to wear masks indoors and, starting Sept. 12, they will have to undergo weekly coronavirus testing. In addition, starting Sept. 30, unvaccinated employees will no longer receive pay protection if they test positive and have to miss work. Finally, starting Nov. 1, unvaccinated employees will be required to pay an additional $200 a month to stay on the company's health care plan. "This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," Ed Bastian, Delta's CEO, said, noting that all employees who have been hospitalized with Covid-19 recently were not fully vaccinated. (Chokshi, New York Times, 8/25)
- Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Thursday announced a statewide indoor mask mandate and a vaccine mandate for select groups. The mask mandate applies to all residents ages two and up, regardless of vaccination status, and goes in effect immediately. The vaccine mandate, which goes into effect Sept. 5, applies to all health care workers, college students, and teachers and staff from pre-K to college. According to the Chicago Tribune, employees and students who are exempt from vaccination or refuse to be vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly coronavirus testing. (Reyes, Axios, 8/26; Pearson et al., Chicago Tribune, 8/26)
- Mississippi: Around 15% of all K-12 students in Mississippi have had to quarantine since the school year began, either due to exposure to or testing positive for the coronavirus, the Mississippi Free Press reports. According to state data from 835 schools in 75 counties, 65,525 students have had to quarantine since the beginning of the school year. The state also reported that there were 5,763 new cases among students from Aug. 16-20, with an additional 28,990 students ordered to quarantine due to exposure. According to the Free Press, both numbers are up from the previous week's figures. In addition to cases among students, there have been 2,383 new cases among K-12 employees and staff this month, including 945 cases in one week. (Pittman, Mississippi Free Press, 8/25; Scully, The Hill, 8/26)