Ngozi Ezike

Some Health Officials Find Their Hands Tied On COVID-19 Restrictions

Oct 30, 2020
Connie Kuntz

Sandra Martell is in a tough spot. As public health administrator in northern Illinois’ Winnebago County, Martell was threatened with lawsuits from several area bar owners after she included them on a list of businesses allegedly defying the governor’s orders to halt indoor dining.

The county is part of a region that faced tougher restrictions this month after the rate of positive COVID-19 tests rose above 8%.

"Syringe and Vaccine" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Public Health says vaccination is an excellent defense against two prominent diseases. 

The first is Hepatitis A. This is a highly contagious liver disease that can cause symptoms such as fatigue, stomach pain, and jaundice. Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said the disease is widespread, and there’s been an outbreak in Illinois since September 2018.

“It has actually been nationwide, over 30 states, But in Illinois specifically, we’ve had 177 related cases, and one death associated with that," she said.

Illinois’ Attorney General is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs, alleging the company intentionally hooked teens on vaping.