chicago covid update

Watch Live: Chicago's Top Doctor to Give COVID Update, Launch Vaccine Ambassador Program

Note: The news conference can be watched live on the video player above beginning at around 1 p.m.

Chicago's top doctor is set to deliver an update on the city's COVID-19 response, the latest data and vaccine information, and launch a new "Vaccine Ambassador" program on Tuesday.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady will deliver the update at 1 p.m. from City Hall, according to CDPH. She will be joined by Malcolm X College President David Sanders, officials said. The news conference can be watched live in the video player above.

Arwady and other officials will be announcing "the launch of a Vaccine Ambassador course, providing free online training for Chicagoans to become trusted vaccine education ambassadors in their own communities," CDPH said.

The new program comes as the city looks to expand ways in which it brings COVID vaccinations to different populations and communities across Chicago.

Chicago and Illinois officials announced Monday that teams to vaccinate people will be dispatched to workplaces and commercial buildings in a new effort.

The workplace vaccinations will begin in mid-May with 10 sites in Chicago, Schaumburg and Rockford in the first wave of the program. The Chicago sites are:

  • Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza
  • Harris Bank Building, 115 S. LaSalle Street
  • 540 W. Madison Street
  • Equitable Building, 401 N. Michigan Avenue
  • 150 N. Riverside Plaza
  • 311 South Wacker (Walgreens at 250 S Wacker Dr)
  • Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue (Walgreens at 410 N Michigan Ave)

Dates and times for the vaccination events will be promoted in advance, officials said, noting that they have been chosen strategically around shift changes.

Other building operators in the city state who are interesting in hosting clinics at their own facilities are encouraged to contact the Illinois Department of Public Health directly to set it up.

And over the weekend, a Chicago Transit Authority bus was transformed into a mobile vaccination site in the city’s Austin neighborhood. CDPH volunteers also went door-to-door in the Austin neighborhood to speak with residents, pass out information and tell people about the bus.

The city will continue to deploy CTA buses as mobile vaccination sites in numerous areas around the city. Anyone 16 years of age or older can hop on a bus and choose between the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires one. Appointments are not necessary.

As of Sunday, about 945,478 Chicago residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which equates to about 43% of the city's eligible population, according to CDPH data. Roughly 57% of the city's population has received at least one dose.

Previously in a phased eligibility rollout, Illinois opened COVID vaccinations to all residents ages 16 and up on April 12 and Chicago followed suit on April 19.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that the state of Illinois "has reached a point where, by and large, all the people who were immediately eager to get vaccinated, have already been vaccinated."

Thus, he said the state - which is allocated vaccine doses separately from Chicago - will begin to "ramp down" the amount it orders from the federal government.

"We're well aware, you know, we have been - I've talked about it before - we had, you know, an increase of supply and dropping demand that we would get to a point where we had more supply than demand," Pritzker said. "So we've been planning for this for some time now."

Chicago and Illinois are both also preparing to move into the Bridge Phase of the state's COVID reopening plan this week. Pritzker announced last week that the state would move from the current Phase 4 into the transitional Bridge Phase on May 14 after case numbers and hospitalizations, which began increasing again weeks ago, have stabilized.

Previously under more strict guidelines than the rest of the state, Chicago officials said late last month that the city would join the rest of Illinois in moving to the Bridge Phase if it meets the metrics.

The Bridge Phase will allow for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations during a transitional period between the current guidelines and a full reopening.

Pritzker also revealed Thursday that the state is on track to enter Phase 5 - which would mark a full reopening - as early as June 11. Chicago is targeting the Fourth of July for a full reopening.

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