Mary Hansen

Reporter

Mary reports for NPR Illinois and the Illinois Newsroom. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent a legislative session covering statehouse news for The Daily Herald. Previously, Mary reported for The State Journal-Register, covering city government. She received her BA in International Studies from American University. 

The Springfield School District 186 board reconsidered Thursday night its decision of how to start the school year. In an emergency meeting, the board voted 5-2 for nearly all students to begin online just over a week after they voted to move forward with a plan that offered both in-person and online options.

Census takers are required to wear a mask, according to the Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau

People in Illinois who have not yet filled out their census forms will soon get a knock at their door.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

This fall, if a student has a fever, cough or other symptom that is commonly linked to COVID-19, they cannot enter a school building.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County came off the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of counties at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

Protesters in a Black Lives Matter car parade on May 31 in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Springfield City Council approved an anti-racism, anti-violence and anti-hatred resolution Wednesday night that would name May 31 as BLM Solidarity Day in honor of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Kristin Walters / IL Newsroom

Illinois will launch a new rental assistance program that could help approximately 30,000 tenants struggling to keep a roof over their heads, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/null?ref=ccsearch
HM Treasury / Flickr

The Illinois Department of Public Health will test people for COVID-19 at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, beginning today.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder signing a Declaration of State of Emergency
City of Springfield

Patrons of bars and restaurants must have an assigned table or seat, and shouldn’t leave their seats unless they’re going to the restroom or leaving.

Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
Illinois Department of Public Health

Sangamon County is one of several counties that are now at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

The county has had 70 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, surpassing the Illinois Department of Public Health’s target number of 50 cases. The number of emergency room visits of people with COVID-19 symptoms is also rising.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, there were more calls for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign due to a long-term bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Also, Governor Pritzker issued new guidelines for sports as Illinois' COVID-19 numbers have been rising.

John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

SIU Medicine will not be offering COVID-19 testing Thursday or Friday nights in the parking lot of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, a county spokesman confirmed to NPR Illinois.

Practice field at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois.
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois High School Association announced a new sports schedule following new public health guidelines issued by the state.

Voting signs at Sangamon County building
AMANDA VINICKY / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Millions of voters across Illinois are getting vote-by-mail applications.

A new law signed by the governor this summer directs all election authorities in the state to send out the applications by August 1. 

An employee at a COVID-19 drive-through testing site funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health directs drivers.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

COVID-19 testing will again be available in the parking lot of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health building, at 2833 South Grand Avenue East, on Monday with new hours.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

More and younger people are getting sick with COVID-19 in Sangamon County. The public health department and county government announced new enforcement mechanisms to tamp down the spread of the new coronavirus at restaurants and bars.

University of Illinois Springfield

Unionized faculty and staff at Illinois’ universities and colleges want their institutions to start almost entirely online this fall.

Medical and health officials answer questions about the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Springfield
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Since March, dozens of employees at central Illinois hospitals and clinics have contracted COVID-19. But leaders of the region’s healthcare institutions said the rate of their workers getting sick is lower than the general population, and the precautions they put in place protect patients and employees.

Signs at the COVID-19 testing site at a former Walgreens in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

There are now two drive-through, COVID-19 testing sites in Springfield – Memorial Medical Center Respiratory Clinic and Walgreens.

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

Restaurants and bars that don’t comply with Illinois’ indoor seating limits and other rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus could face a $500 fine from the city of Springfield. Further noncompliance could lead to the city temporarily suspending a liquor license.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

On Friday afternoon, fifteen cars lined up in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health parking lot, their drivers or passengers waiting to get tested for COVID-19.

Pritzker Deciding Whether To Halt Evictions Again

Jul 16, 2020
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he is considering extending a moratorium on evictions beyond the end of July.  During a stop in Rockford, Thursday, Pritzker was asked if he planned to renew the order when it expires at the end of the month.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield Ald. Joe McMenamin again apologized Tuesday night for comments he made at last week’s city council meeting, which sparked a wider conversation about race and unconscious bias.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Bandy would post photos on social media of patrons packing his bars in Springfield.

“That was my proudest moments, when you see a lot of people in your business having a good time,” Bandy said. “Now, it's bad to do that. It's wrong to have a packed business. And rightfully so.”

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

A month ago, Sangamon County confirmed a dozen COVID-19 cases in one week. So far this week, more than 50 people have tested positive.

People can respond online to the U.S. Census for the first time in 2020.
U.S. Census Bureau / U.S. Census Bureau

About a third of Illinois households still need to fill out their 2020 census forms, according to the U.S. Census Bureau .

A car in a Black Lives Matter parade passes in front of Springfield Police Department headquarters on Monroe Street.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Over the past three years, Springfield’s Police Community Review Commission has considered a single case. But there are differing thoughts on why the board has such a light caseload and if change is needed.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is looking to expand its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, and prevent outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The local health department is asking the Illinois Department of Public Health for $2.86 million to fight the new coronavirus over the next year.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Sangamon County is seeing fewer new COVID-19 cases than it did a month ago, according to data shared in an online roundtable discussion Friday.

But concerns about the disparate impact the coronavirus has on communities of color in the area, and how the pandemic is changing healthcare persist.

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Utility customers in Springfield are shielded from disconnections through late July to help out those who’ve been hurt financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

City Water, Light and Power Chief Engineer Doug Brown said the extended grace period gives customers more time to seek assistance in paying overdue bills.

Storefront of Jerk Shop Go in downtown Springfield, one of the businesses participating in 217 Black Restaurant Weekend
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

From old favorites like Boyd’s New Generation to the more recently opened Greathouse Barbecue, seven restaurants are participating in the weekend celebration of food and culture.

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