FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The dome of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

State health officials report more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases since Independence Day

With the Delta variant causing a surge in cases among unvaccinated people, health officials at the local and state level continue to push to get Illinoisans vaccinated.

Since July 4th, Illinois has seen nearly 5,000 new cases, mostly attributed to large summer gatherings.

The state is also seeing a rise in hospitalizations.

Higher education agencies encourage vaccines for returning college students

Two state agencies that oversee higher education on Monday encouraged colleges and universities to require COVID-19 vaccinations of students before the fall semester opens next month.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board made the recommendation, which they say follows recently released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

Heavy June rain brings late emergence of mosquitoes in Illinois

The state is witnessing a later emergence of mosquitoes than usual after a dry May and unusually wet June.

The total rainfall in June ranged from 3 inches in the far northwest to 12 inches in central Illinois.

Entomologists say the heavy rain caused a later emergence than usual of the Flood Water Mosquito, a bug that breeds in small bodies of water.

BrightFarms voluntarily recalls packaged salad greens

BrightFarms has issued a voluntary recall of packaged salad greens produced in its Ogle County greenhouse farm and sold in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana because of a potential salmonella contamination.

The affected products were sold at Mariano’s Fresh Markets, select WalMart stores, Strack Van Till, Sullivan’s Foods, Caputo’s and Jewel-Osco.

Police investigate after skeletal remains found in Illinois wildlife refuge

Authorities in southern Illinois have launched an investigation after skeletal remains were found at a wildlife refuge.

The remains were found Thursday at the 44,000-acre Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has teamed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois State Police and the county coroner.

University of Illinois study finds deadly year

Last year was a deadly year in the United States for more reasons that COVID-19 according to a new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Compared with the previous five years, March through November 2020 saw an increase of more than 450,000 deaths, and more than 176,000 of those were not from COVID-19.

Some demographics were hit harder than others, particularly men ages 15 to 64.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.