New Illinois Department of Public Health chief comes with pediatrics, political expertise

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker introduced Tuesday {that a} pediatrician with authorized and governance experience will lead the Illinois Division of Public Well being because the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Samir Vohra, assistant professor at Southern Illinois College Faculty of Medication, has changed Dr. Ngozi Ezeki, who turned a family identify on the top of the pandemic.

Vohra praised IDPH workers and stated in an announcement, “I’m honored to guide this company into the longer term, persevering with to guard us from rising illnesses, assist our public well being staff, and promote wellness in each group throughout Illinois.”

Vohra is the founding chair of the Division of Inhabitants Science and Coverage at Southern Illinois College Faculty of Medication and is the interim chief of the Illinois Baby Psychological Well being Partnership, which is increasing providers to younger individuals.

“His experience and schooling transcend sectors and fields, which lends a complete perspective to this company,” Pritzker stated in an announcement.

Izeki left IDPH in March after an unprecedented omicron wave of COVID-19 started to wane over the winter.

Instances are actually growing, in response to IDPH information, though not near ranges in December 2021 via February.


The every day variety of new virus circumstances reached 6,075 on Tuesday, larger than the seven-day common of 4,957. That quantity is almost 40% greater than final week on July 5, when the typical was 3,562.

“We’re seeing quite a lot of circumstances,” Alison Arwardi, the Chicago administration’s public well being commissioner, famous in a weekly replace Tuesday. However we aren’t seeing a big improve.

This rise is as a result of most up-to-date extremely contagious COVID-19 variants, BA.4 and BA.5. These two strains make up about 75% of circumstances within the Midwest and Chicago, Arwady stated.

One other problem to the company is an outbreak of monkeypox in Illinois and throughout the US. The virus causes flu-like signs and swollen lymph nodes that may develop right into a rash.

Monkeypox will not be as contagious as COVID-19 and requires shut contact for transmission.

In the meantime, the state is attempting to organize for an inflow of ladies looking for abortions as neighboring states restrict entry to the process after the Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Vohra holds a legislation diploma from Southern Illinois College and holds a grasp’s diploma in public coverage from the College of Chicago, the place he additionally did his residency in pediatrics.