Illinois on Friday announced it would expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to several additional groups of essential workers ahead of the April 12 date when all residents 16 and older outside of Chicago will be able to get the vaccine. Beginning Monday, higher education staff, government employees and members of the media will be eligible for
Illinois on Friday announced it would expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to several additional groups of essential workers ahead of the April 12 date when all residents 16 and older outside of Chicago will be able to get the vaccine.
Beginning Monday, higher education staff, government employees and members of the media will be eligible for the shots. Food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders will be eligible one week later on March 29.
“With weekly shipments to Illinois surpassing one million doses in April, we are on track to save lives and bring this pandemic to an end,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
Also Monday, suburban Cook County will join the rest of the state outside Chicago in making people over 16 with a host of underlying health conditions eligible for a vaccine. Chicago will add a similar eligibility on March 29.
Pritzker on Thursday announced a revised reopening plan that ties increased capacity limits for a wide range of businesses and venues to statewide vaccination rates.
Capacity limits will increase to 60% for restaurants, retailers and other businesses, with large conferences and conventions able to accommodate up to 1,000 people, once 70% of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. That’s assuming the state hasn’t seen a significant increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths or a drop in available intensive care unit beds in the preceding 28 days.
Once the state enters this “bridge” phase, a new 28-day monitoring period begins, after which all capacity limits and restrictions would be lifted when 50% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose.
As of Friday, 62% of residents 65 and older and 28% of those 16 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Also Friday, Pritzker announced the state is partnering with DuPage and Kane counties to launch mass vaccination sites.
Officials from the governor’s office said the state will deploy additional resources to an existing site at the DuPage County Complex in Wheaton to create a “joint-State/County mass vaccination site.”
The DuPage and Kane county sites are part of the National Guard mission on vaccinations that is already supporting efforts in Lake and McHenry counties, the state said.
Pritzker also announced five additional counties will take part in the state’s vaccination program in rural Illinois, a partnership between the Illinois National Guard and local health departments in which service members visit communities to deliver doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The mobile operations will host vaccination events next week in Edwards, Lawrence, Cumberland, Edgar and Stephenson counties.
The Cook County Department of Public Health announced it will focus its equity distribution programs on 32 municipalities that are located primarily in the west and south suburbs and are predominantly communities of color.
The county will reserve appointments specifically for these communities, working with community-based organizations and health providers to identify vulnerable residents and schedule vaccination appointments for them.
Illinois public health officials on Friday reported that 135,525 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 4,510,696.
The number of residents who have been fully vaccinated — receiving both of the required shots, or Johnson & Johnson’s single shot — reached 1,690,834, or 13.27% of the total population.
A record daily average of 102,775 vaccines were administered over the last seven days.
Meanwhile, after a month of steadily declining metrics, the data shows a slight increase in average daily cases and the positivity rate. As of Thursday, the seven-day case average is 1,757, the highest since an average of 1,803 was reported for the week ending Feb. 27.
The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a share of total tests is 2.5% as of Thursday, the highest since the same rate was recorded Feb. 26.
Officials reported 2,380 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, the highest count since 2,565 cases were recorded March 6. The total number of known infections in Illinois since the start of the pandemic is 1,218,470.
Twelve additional fatalities were also recorded, bringing the statewide death toll to 21,034.
As of Thursday night, 1,132 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 242 patients in intensive care units and 105 patients on ventilators.