While Illinois is on the verge of meeting the vaccination metric required to enter the new Bridge Phase of its reopening plan, the state won't yet be moving forward just yet.
Meanwhile, four new mass vaccination sites are expected to open this week in Kane, Lake, Will and McHenry counties.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Doctor Took Several Vaccine Doses From Loretto Hospital to Relative's Suburban Home
A doctor with ties to Loretto Hospital took several doses from the West Side Chicago facility to a suburban relative's home as part of a private request, sources and the hospital confirmed Monday.
Dr. Ali Ahmed, president and CEO of Affinity Health, which oversees COVID clinical trials at Loretto Hospital, was allowed to take 10 vaccine doses to a home in Bloomingdale, owned by one of his relatives, hospital officials said.
The hospital confirmed the vaccination doses were given to Ahmed on Jan. 29 as part of a request to vaccinate a terminally ill woman and several others.
Hospital officials told NBC 5 that Ahmed was initially denied permission to take the vaccine to the Bloomingdale home, but the hospital's former COO Dr. Anosh Ahmed, who is not related, signed off on a private request.
CFL, Mayor Lightfoot Unveil ‘First-of-its-Kind' Vaccination Program for Chicago Union Members
In what is being described as a “first-of-its-kind effort” to vaccinate union workers, the city of Chicago is teaming up with the Chicago Federation of Labor to launch a vaccination site for essential union employees.
According to the press release, the CFL will join Mayor Lori Lightfoot in opening up the vaccination site to members who were eligible for vaccinations in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the city’s program.
The site is expected to handle approximately 1,200 vaccinations per week, with additional capacity expected as availability of vaccine doses increases.
McHenry County Opening New Mass Vaccination Site Tuesday
A new mass vaccination site is scheduled to open in McHenry County Tuesday, one of four new locations opening in Chicago suburbs this week.
McHenry County's new site will open inside a former K-Mart, located at 1900 N. Richmond Ave., state officials said Monday. The site will be open to eligible residents who live or work in the county. (Details here)
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also announced Monday that the state is activating members of the Illinois National Guard to support county health officials and "expand its local operations to help those who live or work in the county."
Find more details here.
‘We Are Very Concerned:' Chicago Health Officials Keeping Wary Eye on Increasing COVID Cases
While health officials in Chicago aren’t willing to call a current rise in coronavirus cases a “surge,” they are remaining vigilant and expressing concern that the city could be heading in that direction if residents don’t take the chance of a dramatic rise in cases seriously.
Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, says that the city is closely tracking a recent increase in coronavirus cases, and that the next four-to-eight weeks will be key to determining whether the current rise in cases is just a blip in the radar, or an indicator that the city is heading for the type of spike in cases that it saw in the fall.
“We are certainly seeing a rise in cases. It’s not to the point that we were seeing in November, but it’s something that we want to closely follow,” she said. “We are very concerned about what the outlook may be over the next four-to-eight weeks.”
Read more here.
Rising COVID Hospitalizations Keeping Illinois From Entering Bridge Phase: IDPH
While Illinois is on the verge of meeting the vaccination metric required to enter the new Bridge Phase of its reopening plan, it appears the state won't yet be moving forward just yet.
As of Monday, the state had reported 69 percent of seniors 65 and older had been vaccinated, just shy of the 70% threshold required to enter the final phase before a full reopening.
But according to Illinois' health department, hospitalization metrics "continue to trend upward," meaning "the state has not yet met the conditions to move to the Bridge Phase."
"Health officials continue to urge all residents to mask up, socially distance and wash hands frequently to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to the Bridge Phase," IDPH said in a release Monday.
Read more here.
4 New Mass Vaccination Sites Opening in Illinois This Week, Some to All Eligible Illinois Residents
Four new mass vaccination sites are expected to open this week in Kane, Lake, Will and McHenry counties.
Three of the sites will open to all eligible residents in Illinois, regardless of where they live. In McHenry County, the site will only open to those who live or work in the area. A Grundy County vaccination location at Shabbona Middle School will also expand its eligibility to include any eligible state resident. Full list here.
Health officials said the state made the decision to launch the sites with expanded ZIP code eligibility to "reverse early signs of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases."
Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,761 New COVID Cases, 5 Deaths, 49K Vaccinations
Health officials in Illinois on Monday reported 1,761 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths, along with more than 49,000 vaccinations in the past 24 hours.
According to figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 1,761 new confirmed and probable COVID cases reported in the last day brought the state’s total to 1,239,589 cases since the pandemic began last year.
The five new deaths lifted the state's death toll to 21,256 fatalities related to the virus, according to health officials.
Read more here.
Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expands to More Essential Workers Monday
Illinois expanded 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 are all now 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:
|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|
Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility: Phase 1C Begins Monday
Chicago moved into the next phase of its vaccine rollout, Phase 1C, on Monday, expanding eligibility for residents with underlying health conditions and an additional group of essential workers.
The expansion allows 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 also remain eligible in 1C.