Illinois 4-H joins fight against rising youth cases of COVID-19

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health,

URBANA, Ill. – Two of the fastest growing groups to fall victim to the COVID-19 virus in Illinois are teens and young adults. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is hosting a virtual youth forum with Director Dr. Ngozie Ezike to talk about the challenges of the pandemic for young people, what’s needed now and to announce a mask design competition.

As part of the youth moderated forum, young people representing a variety of organizations, including Illinois 4-H, will participate in a Q&A with Dr. Ezike.

“We are excited to be partners in the IDPH YesUCan campaign,” says Lisa Diaz, assistant dean and director of University of Illinois Extension 4-H. “Together, we’re bringing youth voices to the table to inform strategies in Illinois that will help our communities stay healthy and strong.”

Youth are invited to join the conversation and watch the live broadcast from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 26 on the IDPH Twitter @IDPH or Facebook @IDPH.illinois.

Dr. Ezike will answer questions and talk about how to more effectively address concerns young people have about COVID-19 including changing behaviors around going to school and socializing.

The IDPH will also roll out a statewide mask design competition for ages 14 to 29 with cash prizes. Contestants will need to submit an original face mask design and a 500-word written essay or a one-minute video.

The goal of the contest is to help young people understand the importance of wearing a mask and how masking up can have a positive influence on their peers.

Learn more about the contest at

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

ABOUT 4-H: Illinois 4-H prepares and empowers youth for success. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H impacts the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

SOURCE: Lisa Diaz, Assistant Dean, Director Illinois Extension 4-H

WRITEREmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, University of Illinois Extension