Illinois Coronavirus Updates: State Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility, Chicago Enters Phase 1C – NBC Chicago

Illinois is expanding COVID-19 vaccine access to another group of essential workers Monday, as the state moves closer to opening up vaccination eligibility to all adults next month.

Meanwhile, Chicago is moving into the next phase of its vaccine rollout, Phase 1C, expanding eligibility for residents with underlying health conditions and an additional group of essential workers.

And Cook County Health said that 25,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments released Sunday were snapped up in less than two hours.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expands to More Essential Workers Monday

Illinois is expanding COVID-19 vaccine access to another group of essential workers Monday, as the state moves closer to opening up vaccination eligibility to all adults next month.

Food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders will be eligible, according to guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. On March 22, the state expanded eligibility to include higher education staff, government workers and media.

Here’s a look at the full schedule of vaccine eligibility:

Date Eligible Groups
December 15, 2020 Healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents
January 25, 2021 Frontline essential workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers and other public-facing industries) and residents age 65 and up
February 25, 2021 Residents with high-risk conditions or disabilities, age 16 and up
March 22, 2021 Higher education staff, government workers, and media
March 29, 2021 Restaurant staff, construction trade workers, and religious leaders
April 12, 2021 Any resident age 16 and up

Read more here.

Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility: Phase 1C Begins Monday

Chicago is moving into the next phase of its vaccine rollout, Phase 1C, beginning Monday, expanding eligibility for residents with underlying health conditions and an additional group of essential workers.

The expansion will allow for workers in a variety of fields to be vaccinated including: restaurant employees, hotel workers, hairdressers, clergy members, construction workers, delivery drivers and warehouse workers, among others.

Those already eligible under Phases 1A and 1B will also remain eligible in 1C.

Read more here.

25K New Cook County Vaccine Appointments Booked in Less Than 2 Hours

Cook County Health said that 25,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments released Sunday were snapped up in less than two hours.

Appointments for the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine were released to the public at 12 p.m. Sunday, officials said, open to all Illinois residents eligible under the state’s vaccination plan in Phases 1A, 1B, 1B Plus and others “previously classified as 1C” that are eligible in the state beginning Monday.

Cook County officials said Sunday afternoon that all appointments, for four suburban vaccination sites, were taken in less than two hours.

Appointments in the future can be made on the Cook County vaccine website or by calling the county’s hotline at (833) 308-1988 on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Read more here.

More Than 1K COVID Vaccine Doses Given at South Austin Mass Vaccination Event

More than 1,000 residents of Chicago’s West Side received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine Sunday during a pop-up mass vaccination event in the South Austin neighborhood.

“This is an example of equity in action,” said Dr. Stephanie Cox-Baston, chief medical officer of the Near North Health Service, one of the organizations behind the large vaccination effort. “We talk a lot about equity, but this is what it looks like.”

Read more here.

Illinois Vaccinations

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,250 New COVID Cases, 23 Deaths, 110K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois reported more than 2,200 new cases of coronavirus, along with 23 additional deaths attributed to the virus as the state’s positivity rate continued to rise.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 2,250 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the state to 1,237,828 cases since the pandemic began last year.

Sunday’s 23 additional fatalities bring the state to 21,251 deaths during the pandemic, according to officials.

Over the last 24 hours, state laboratories have received 65,729 new specimens. The rolling seven-day positivity rate on all tests performed in the state now stands at 3.2%, while the positivity rate on individuals tested is at 3.6%.

Over the last 24 hours, 110,211 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered, according to officials. That brings the state to an average of just over 103,000 doses administered per day over the last seven days.

Read more here.

Loretto Hospital COO Says Resignation Due to ‘Becoming a Distraction’ to Nurses, Doctors

After stepping down amid allegations that he arranged for well-connected individuals to receive coronavirus vaccines, the COO of Chicago’s Loretto Hospital released a statement Saturday saying he’s become a “‘distraction” to staff.

On Wednesday, Dr. Anosh Ahmed, the hospital’s COO and CFO, tendered his resignation, and the hospital’s board unanimously accepted it.

Read the details here.

Illinois Seeing ‘Potential Early Warning Sign’ of Resurgence, Health Department Says

Illinois’ recent COVID metrics, particularly those in three northern Illinois regions, are seeing a “concerning possible trend” that could mark the start of another resurgence, the state’s health department said Friday.

Since March 8, Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. At the same time, the COVID-19 test positivity has risen from 2.5% on March 10, to 3.3% on Friday.

“While these rates are certainly significantly lower than the peak, they represent a potential early warning sign about a possible resurgence,” IDPH said in a statement.

More data here.

Illinois Not Meeting ‘Bridge Phase’ Metrics Amid COVID Increases in Multiple Regions: IDPH

Illinois isn’t meeting the metrics required to move into its “Bridge Phase,” a transition phase that would increase capacity limitations ahead of a full reopening, the state’s health department said Friday.

Despite promising projections earlier in the week, the Illinois Department of Public Health said “a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates” in multiple regions could prevent the state from meeting the required metrics.

“While Illinois is on pace to reach 70% first doses for residents 65 years and older in the coming days, IDPH is monitoring an increase in new hospital admissions for COVID, which will need to be appropriately addressed and resolved before moving into the Bridge Phase,” the health department said in a release. “IDPH epidemiologists will continue to focus on the most recent 10 days to monitor any acute trends that prevent the state from reaching the Bridge Phase.”

Read more here.

Illinois Authorizes Counties With ‘Low Demand’ to Start Vaccinating Anyone 16 and Older

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday authorized counties in the state seeing low COVID vaccine demand to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older at their immediate discretion in order to “address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates.”

IDPH said in a statement that it had seen vaccine demand slow in several counties “with early signs of unfilled appointments and increased vaccine inventory.”

As such, the state is authorizing counties with open appointments and slowed demand to expand vaccine eligibility in order to use doses currently available. IDPH noted that residents should contact their local health department to learn whether they have expanded eligibility.

Read more here.

Rapid Response Vaccination Teams Being Sent to 5 Illinois Counties

The state announced Friday that it is sending “Rapid Response Vaccination Teams” to five counties where epidemiologists “have determined there is a need to administer doses quickly to blunt increasing trends,” IDPH said. Those teams will administer single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to residents on top of what the counties are already allocated.

The counties are: Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee and Whiteside. Details on doses and how to make an appointment can be found here.

Chicago Announces Reopening Changes Amid ‘Worrying Increases’ in Metrics

Chicago has announced changes to its reopening plan as the city faces “worrying increases” in COVID health metrics and aims to prevent “a third surge of the virus in Chicago.”

The city said it plans to keep most of its indoor restrictions in place, but outdoor capacity limits will increase at some establishments.

According to the new guidelines, the updated capacity limits, which take effect immediately, include:

  • Bars and Restaurants: Maximum outdoor table size can increase to ten people, with tables set up so that patrons are six feet from patrons at other tables
  • Social Events (e.g. weddings, potlucks and other community events): Total outdoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people
  • Performance Venues, Theaters and Seated Spectator Events: Outdoor venues with capacity greater than or equal to 200 can operate at 25% capacity. Smaller venues can operate at no more than 50% capacity or 50 people.
  • Outdoor Recreation: Maximum groups of 50; multiple groups permitted
  • Places of Worship: No outdoor capacity limit provided that six feet of social distancing is maintained between parties
  • Health and Fitness Centers: Outdoor classes can increase to 100 people

Read more here.

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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: State Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility, Chicago Enters Phase 1C – NBC Chicago

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