Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Terry Prince (third from left) testifies before the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission at the Capitol in March 2024. He was testifying regarding an audit of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home that killed 36 residents in 2020. (Andrew Campbell / Capitol News Illinois)

Beginning in October 2020, LaSalle Veterans Home experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that sickened nearly 200 people. A whopping 85% of residents and 35% of staff tested positive for the virus, which eventually killed three dozen residents.

(WTTW News)

Local health officials are working to notify people who may have been exposed to measles after a northwest Indiana resident sought medical care last week in Chicago while contagious with the infection.

(agilemktg1 / Flickr)

The State Health Improvement Plan is part of a larger five-year plan that Illinois officials will use to outline and address the major public health issues facing the state.  

Belhaven Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, 11401 S. Oakley Ave., has amassed $118,700 in state fines and more than $879,000 in federal fines over the past four years. (Credit: Brittany Sowacke)

A data analysis by WTTW News and the Hyde Park Herald/South Side Weekly found the disparity between access to quality nursing home care for Black and White Chicagoans is stark, with highly rated homes concentrated on the city’s North Side and housing majority White residents.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra is pictured at a news conference in Springfield in May 2023. IDPH is warning Illinoisans to take precautions against the spread of respiratory viruses as hospitalizations rise. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

COVID-19 hospitalizations up in recent weeks, masks recommended in certain settings

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 were up 22% statewide last week compared to the week before.

(WTTW News)

Forty-four counties in the state were at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to CDC data for the week ending Nov. 25. Cook County remains at a low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

(WTTW News)

A new state health report pinpoints racism as a public health crisis while also noting Illinois needs to improve in the areas of maternal and infant health, mental health and substance use disorders.

Rush Hospital outreach street nurse Joshua Dueshop vaccinates a resident of the Martha Washington senior apartments in North Center. (Amanda Vinicky / WTTW News)

While the public health emergency is officially over, COVID-19 is still making people sick, and health officials say they’ve entered a new front.

(Pexels / Kei Scampa)

The state still has a long way to go toward ensuring that all Illinois residents can have a safe and healthy pregnancy, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a press release.

(WTTW News)

The measles case involves an unvaccinated individual and was confirmed by public health officials on Wednesday.

(WTTW News)

A combination of economic factors, health access and misinformation pushed childhood vaccination figures down to dangerous levels in recent years for many illnesses, including measles, experts said.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Of the 12 total cases of West Nile virus the state health department has seen so far this year, seven of those cases were reported in Cook County, including two in Chicago.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra during an interview on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 16, 2022. (WTTW News)

The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health expressed support for the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the state’s assault weapons ban.

(WTTW News)

Local public health departments are continuing to monitor COVID-19 levels in the area as the U.S. sees a late-summer uptick in test positivity and hospitalizations.

(WTTW News)

The program pushes $250 million in funds to the state’s hardest hit communities. Designed to interrupt and prevent gun violence, it’s a three-year investment that started at the end of 2021.

(WTTW News)

DCFS gained more than 100 employees between 2021 and 2022. Public health employees declined.

WTTW News analyzed state salary data and found some departments got smaller or had a noticeable uptick in employees leaving. Even in agencies that grew, employee churn was evident. We walk you through the numbers.