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IDPH Takes Action to Combat Measles

SPRINGFIELD – As cases of measles continue to rise across the U.S., the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is taking action to prevent cases of measles and increase vaccination rates. Recent actions range from direct outreach to communities with low vaccination rates, new grants for local health departments, and public education campaigns.


“Vaccines are our most effective and safest tool for combatting disease and our department is deeply committed to helping those who are able get vaccinated,” said Acting IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are actively working to increase vaccination rates in communities with the lowest rates and will continue to engage local health departments, schools, and community organizations in the critical work of keeping Illinoisans healthy and safe.”


Recent IDPH actions include:


    • COMMUNITY GRANTS: IDPH is providing an additional $3.5 million in grants to local health departments across the state to increase awareness campaigns and help build infrastructure so that it is easier to get vaccinated.  With this additional funding:


        o Medical grade refrigerators will be purchased to safely store vaccines.
        o Vaccine and supplies such as syringes, gloves, and gauze will be purchased.
        o Vaccination videos will air in movie theaters showing children’s films in certain areas.


    • MOBILE UNITS: IDPH is preparing to deploy its Wellness on Wheels (WOW) mobile units not only to local health departments, but to other organizations across the state. The WOW mobile units can be driven to neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates in an effort to make vaccination more accessible.  They can also be requested for special community events that parents and children often attend like fairs and neighborhood celebrations.


        o Interested organizations can e-mail or call 217-785-4311 for more information. Organizations can fill out the Wellness on Wheels Mobile Request Form to request a WOW mobile unit.


    • DIRECT OUTREACH: Dr. Ezike and IDPH are engaging in direct outreach to communities with low vaccination rates. Recent outreach includes meeting with the Sangamon County Health Department, Springfield school district, and rabbinical and Islamic leaders in the Chicagoland area. This week, IDPH also met with the Illinois Immunization Advisory Council members and stakeholders to discuss the measles outbreaks across the country as well as the Immunization Action Plan.


    • PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS: IDPH launched a social media vaccination education campaign for National Infant Immunization Week that, on Facebook alone, reached more than 50,000 people.  IDPH is preparing additional educational materials for a back-to-school vaccination campaign.


    • HEALTH CARE GUIDANCE: IDPH has issued guidance to health care providers for measles testing, reporting, and prevention.  New information was sent to providers on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, that summarizes current vaccine recommendations, reinforces testing and isolation guidance, and encourages facilities to enhance vaccine efforts by focusing on age-appropriate, on-time vaccination of children and high-risk adults.  Information issued also included:


        o Measles Infection Timeline – to better identify cases of measles
        o Measles Testing Flowchart – to outline when testing for measles should be done


    • VFC COVERAGE:  IDPH is continuing to recruit and retain Vaccine For Children (VFC) health care providers.  The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost for children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. While the previous administration’s efforts to oversee this program resulted in a multi-million dollar debt, the current administration is committed to making this program work throughout Illinois. The VFC program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. 


As of May 10, 2019, 839 cases of measles have been identified in 23 states.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was eliminated in 2000. Illinois has had seven reported cases in 2019. 


More information about the VFC program and immunizations can be found on the IDPH website.

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will be honored with the Distinguished Member of the Regiment by the 187th Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army this evening, May 17. The ceremony will take place at The Bruce Conference Center in Hopkinsville, KY near Fort Campbell.

White is being recognized for his contribution to society as an elected official, an educator, the founder and coach of the Jesse White Tumbling Team and for his charitable efforts. White served as a paratrooper in the highly regarded 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, and again as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve.

“I have the greatest respect for those who serve our country in uniform and the commitment they have made,” said White. “I am humbled to be selected for this meaningful honor.”

White noted his experiences at Fort Campbell remain integral to him to this day. Serving in the U.S. Army taught him the importance of teamwork, respect, commitment to duty and helping others in need.

“I believe when you are successful in life, you should do everything you can to give back and make a positive difference to society. This remains my goal in life.”

CREST HILL – Seven incarcerated men at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) are college graduates after completing Northeastern University’s University Without Walls program at Stateville Correctional Center. Special guests Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Dr. Angela Davis, and Chance the Rapper attended Wednesday’s graduation ceremony at the Crest Hill facility. Chance the Rapper performed for the offenders and their families at the ceremony.


“As Lieutenant Governor, I am proud to celebrate the graduates and students being honored today,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “These students are teaching us that for people to be accountable, it means that we must provide people the opportunity for them to learn and grow. Prison reform, like criminal justice reform, is about expanding justice, equity and opportunity. As Lt. Governor, I am committed to doing just that, both in prisons and in communities throughout the state of Illinois.”


University Without Walls is a two-year competency-based degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Arts Degree. The program includes an individualized curriculum to help incarcerated men and women at Stateville Correctional Center reach their academic goals. 


“The Illinois Department of Corrections believes education is critical for incarcerated men and women who want to change their lives,” said Dr. Anita Bazile-Sawyer, Chief of Programs at IDOC. “The support of our state’s leaders, colleges and universities, volunteers, and other notables shows our offender population that there are people who believe in them and want them to succeed.”

CHICAGO, IL — Players have the chance to win a combined $609 million in estimated jackpots this weekend! The jackpot in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing has rolled to an estimated $339 million, and the jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has reached an estimated $270 million.


The winning numbers from Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing were 11, 59, 66, 67 and 68, and the Mega Ball number was 18. While there was no jackpot winner in Tuesday night’s drawing, Illinois players won more than 28,000 prizes, ranging from $2 to $10,000. In total, players won more than $156,000 this draw.


The winning numbers from Wednesday’s Powerball drawing were 7, 17, 33, 61 and 68, and the Powerball number was 4. While there was no jackpot winner in Wednesday night’s drawing, Illinois players won more than 23,000 prizes, ranging from $4 to $50,000. In all, players won more than $171,000 in this draw.


Illinois residents, 18 and older, can purchase Mega Millions and all of the Illinois Lottery’s draw-based game tickets by using the Illinois Lottery’s mobile app. The free app (the first of its kind in the United States) is available for download on iOS and Android devices and offers any Illinois adult the chance to purchase lottery tickets on their smartphone. Players can also purchase their tickets online at and at nearly 7,200 retailers statewide.

Kewanee City Wide Clean Up Saturday May 18th

The Kewanee City Wide Clean Up will take place on Saturday, May 18th from 7 Am to 12 Noon at the old hospital site on Elliott Street. City of Kewanee Director of Community Development Keith Edwards recently appeared on WKEI and talked about why the City of Kewanee holds the City Wide Clean Up Day... 

Look at the flyer below to see what can and cannot be taken to the Kewanee City Wide Clean Up on Saturday... 

Saturday night is the big send off for members of the First Congregational Church and First Baptist Church Choirs before they head off to New York City for to sing at Carnegie Hall. Brock Tumbleson and Pastor Dan Craig with the First Baptist Church Choir tell WKEI that the concert on Saturday night is the choir's way of thanking Kewanee for the support the choir has received in raising funds for their Carnegie Hall adventure. The concert on Saturday is entirely free and will feature much of the music that the choir will perform at Carnegie Hall... 


Representatives for Small Business Groups in Springfield want changes made to a bill that would require all business owners in Illinois to give paid sick leave to all employees. Under the bill as it stands, business owners would be required to pay employees who call in sick to work. Small Business Groups would like to see the bill amended so that businesses with a smaller number of employees may be exempt from the new law. Our reporter Greg Bishop has more...