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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: 80+ Counties Open Vaccine Eligibility, Walgreens to Change Scheduler

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More than 80 counties in Illinois have expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to all state residents 16 years and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Meanwhile, Walgreens says it plans to change the COVID vaccine scheduler on its website following complaints that the pharmacy wasn't adhering to federal health officials' recommended timeline for some second doses.

And the average number of new coronavirus cases diagnosed each day in Illinois has risen by more than 75% in the last month, with positivity rates in the state increasing by more than 70% in that time.

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

VP Kamala Harris Tours Vaccination Site, Touts American Jobs Plan in Chicago Visit

Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Chicago Tuesday afternoon in her first official trip to the city since she was sworn into office, delivering messages about the Biden administration's efforts to tamp down the coronavirus pandemic and to pass major legislation, including the American Jobs Plan.

Upon her arrival in Chicago, the vice president visited a mass vaccination site, which opened this week to serve Chicago Federation of Labor members. Chicago officials say that the union-based vaccination site is the first of its kind in the nation, and Harris says that Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke glowingly about the program in inviting her to Chicago.

“(Mayor Lightfoot) reached out and said ‘you’ve got to come and what labor folks are doing in my community, because it will inspire you, and it will prove to be a model for what the country is capable of,’” Harris said.

The vice president called spring a time of “renewal,” and while she emphasized that the United States can see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, she also reminded Americans not to forget the collective sacrifices that have been made during the pandemic.

Read more here.

Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility Will Open to All Adults by Biden's April 19 Deadline

Chicago will open COVID vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older by President Joe Biden's deadline on April 19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday.

"We will meet that deadline," Lightfoot said at a news conference following Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to a mass vaccination site in Chicago.

"We need more vaccine," Lightfoot continued, but added that she was "confident" the city could open eligibility by April 19.

Biden announced the new deadline for states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine on Tuesday, moving up his previously targeted date of May 1 by just under two weeks.

Biden's new deadline came as most states, including Illinois, have already announced plans to open eligibility ahead of the original May 1 deadline.

Read more here.

Peoria, McLean Counties to Receive Additional COVID Vaccines, Resources Amid Surge in Cases

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Tuesday that six Illinois counties, including Peoria and McLean counties, will receive additional doses of the coronavirus vaccine, along with other resources as COVID cases surge in several parts of the state.

According to the governor’s office, Fulton, Tazewell, Woodford and Jo Daviess counties will also receive the additional doses and resources.

Those Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will be delivered by “rapid response vaccination teams,” comprised of members of the Illinois National Guard and other health professionals.

Read more here.

Which COVID Vaccine is Best For You and How Long Do They Last?

As new studies surrounding COVID vaccine efficacy and how long both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines last continue to emerge, how can you know which is best for you?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer some level of protection.

For a breakdown, click here.

University of Illinois Gymnast Flashes COVID Vaccination Card After Landing His Vault

A member of the University of Illinois Men's Gymnastics team showed off his COVID-19 vaccination card after sticking his vault landing last month.

Following a personally record-breaking vault, sophomore Evan Manivong grabbed for his vaccination card inside his uniform and flashed it to the crowd.

Big 10 announcers were initially puzzled by the card, discussing what the gymnast could have shown to the crowd after his strong layout and landing. The official Twitter account of the gymnastics team also tweeted a video of Manivong's pass and score, adding "We're not sure what was on that card either..."

In a shared response that has earned him over 10,000 likes and 2,000 retweets, Manivong wrote, "It's my vaccination card...go get vaccinated everyone!"

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,931 New COVID Cases, 13 Deaths, 95K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois reported 2,931 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, with 13 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Tuesday's new cases brought the state to 1,261,667 since the pandemic began last year. The number of new cases has continued to rise in recent weeks in the state, with some officials fearing that a new surge could be taking place even as vaccinations continue to rise.

Tuesday's 13 additional deaths brought the state to 21,395 confirmed COVID fatalities during the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, the state has administered nearly 6.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, while receiving 8,061,075 doses.

Read more here.

Illinois and Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility: A Look at Who Qualifies Where

Who is eligible to get the COVID vaccine in Illinois and when? It all depends on where you're looking right now, but that will soon change.

Eligibility will expand to all residents over the age of 16 outside of Chicago next week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced.

Residents with certain underlying conditions as well as some essential workers are already eligible statewide, but in many counties, eligibility has already expanded to all residents age 16 and older.

For the full list, click here.

Chicago Travel Order Update: 24 States and DC Now on List Requiring Quarantine or Negative COVID Test

Chicago updated its emergency travel order on Tuesday, detailing where states currently stand under the guidelines for travelers to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.

The city now includes 24 states as well as the District of Columbia in the order's "orange tier," which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago. The lesser "yellow tier" includes 25 states and Puerto Rico. Which tier states fall into depends on case rate adjusted for population.

Here's a look at which states are in either tier:

  • 25 yellow states and 1 territory:  Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, Wisconsin, Washington, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina
  • 24 orange states and District of Columbia: New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, Vermont, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Alaska, Virginia, New Hampshire,  Minnesota, Michigan, West Virginia, Maryland, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, and District of Columbia

As of Tuesday, both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois' coronavirus metrics would place them in the orange tier - though officials have repeatedly said the travel order requirements will not apply to residents of other parts of Illinois who are entering Chicago.

Read more here.

More Wrigley Field COVID Vaccine Appointments to Be Released Tuesday, Alderman Says

More COVID vaccine appointments for the new Wrigley Field mass vaccination site will be released Tuesday morning, a Chicago alderman said.

Ald. Michele Smith tweeted Monday evening that appointments for the site would open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Smith, who represents the 43rd Ward, did not detail how many appointments would be released.

Appointments can be booked on the ZocDoc scheduling platform.

The new site is located at the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field. It launched Monday, open to all Chicago residents eligible under Phases 1A, 1B or 1C of the city's COVID vaccine rollout.

Read more here.

Illinois' COVID Positivity Rate Rose More Than 70% in Last Month, Data Shows

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the average number of daily coronavirus cases in the state has risen by more than 75% in the last month, with positivity rates in the state increasing by more than 70% in that time.

According to figures made available by IDPH, the average number of new cases per day has risen substantially in the last month, fueling concerns that a new surge in COVID cases could lead to increased restrictions in some areas of the state.

Between March 7 and March 13, there were an average of 1,511 new COVID cases per day, according to IDPH data. In the next week, that number increased to 1,798 new cases per day, and in the week of March 28 through April 3, there were an average of 2,671 new cases of coronavirus per day in the state of Illinois, an increase of 77% from just three weeks prior.

During that same time period, there has been virtually no increase in the amount of coronavirus testing being done by state laboratories. 

Read more here.

Cook County Vaccine: 30K Appointments Released Monday Evening

Cook County Health released 30,000 first-dose COVID vaccine appointments Monday evening for all Illinois residents eligible in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C.

Cook County's appointments in the future can be booked on the Cook County vaccine website or by calling the county's hotline at (833) 308-1988.

Read more here.

Can You Spread COVID After Receiving Vaccine?

Experts have made clear that getting the COVID vaccine offers plenty of protection from coronavirus, but can it prevent you from spreading it to others?

Yes, you can, but the answer is also a bit more complicated.

Read more here.

Rural Illinois Bar Opening Prompted Outbreak of 46 COVID Cases, CDC Says

An outbreak of 46 coronavirus cases that originated at a rural Illinois bar prompted a school closure and the hospitalization of a long-term care facility resident, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a report published Monday.

A total of 26 customers and three staff members who attended the bar opening in early February contracted COVID-19, along with 17 people who weren't present at the gathering.

Those who attended reported inconsistent mask use and not maintaining at least six feet of distance, despite table spacing and signs encouraging physical distancing and mask use, the report stated.

Read more here.

Kankakee, Livingston Counties to Host Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccination Events

Six Illinois counties, including Kankakee and Livingston counties, will participate in a rural vaccination program this week, with the aim of fully vaccinating 8,000 residents in predominately rural areas.

According to a press release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, the program will feature mobile vaccination teams heading to the six different counties to administer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Appointments for the vaccination events will be prioritized for county residents, with local health departments getting assistance from members of the Illinois National Guard, according to the release. Here are the six counties participating.

Walgreens to Change COVID Vaccine Scheduler for Some Second Doses After Complaints

Walgreens on Monday said it planned to change the COVID vaccine scheduler on its website following complaints that the pharmacy wasn't adhering to federal health officials' recommended timeline for some second doses.

Through the online vaccine scheduler on its website, Walgreens has been automatically scheduling patients' second doses for 28 days after their first dose since it began vaccinations in December. That timeframe is in line with the CDC's recommendations on the Moderna vaccine but is longer than that of the Pfizer vaccine.

The New York Times reported Monday that the CDC had asked Walgreens to stop using that longer timeframe between the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to a spokeswoman for the agency. That same day, Walgreens said it planned to update its website by the end of the week to allow users to schedule a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within three weeks.

Read more here.

More Than 80 Illinois Counties Have Opened COVID Vaccine Eligibility to All Residents 16 and Older

More than 80 counties in Illinois have expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to all state residents 16 years and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Citing a survey of local health departments in the state, IDPH released a list of counties that have already expanded eligibility one week before the state is expected to do the same. There are 102 counties total in the state.

Here's a full list

Wrigley Field, Chicago State University Mass Vaccination Sites Open Monday

Two new mass vaccination sites in Chicago - one at Chicago State University and a second just outside Wrigley Field - opened Monday with plans to administer thousands of COVID vaccine doses each day.

City residents eligible under Phase 1C of the city's COVID vaccine rollout are eligible to get vaccinated at Chicago State University or the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field.

Appointments at the Chicago State University site can be made at the city's website, but "to ensure equitable distribution," initial appointments are only available to residents of the following ZIP codes: 60617, 60619, 60620, 60621, 60628, 60633, 60636, 60643, 60649, 60655 and 60827.

Read more here.

Can You Take Tylenol, Ibuprofen With the COVID Vaccine?

Whether preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine or enduring side effects, officials provided guidance on taking various over-the-counter medications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated. 

The CDC does not recommend, however, that people take such over-the-counter medications or antihistamines to prevent side effects prior to receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

"You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally," the CDC states. "It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects."

Read more here.

Cook County Entering New Coronavirus Surge: Health Officials

Cook County could reinstate a number of COVID-19 restrictions aimed at reducing rising cases as the county begins to see a third surge of the coronavirus, health officials said Saturday.

Both the city of Chicago and Cook County have each recently seen more than 600 new daily cases, according to Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and co-lead at the Cook County Department of Public Health. A couple weeks ago, Rubin said approximately 250 cases were reported each day.

While no decisions have been made about reinstating restrictions in Cook County, officials say change could come in the next week, and the biggest focus may be on indoor activities.

"The data has shown it is not necessarily outdoor activities, but indoor, so these are the kind of things we have to evaluate and look at the data," Rubin said.

As is the case in Chicago, Rubin said cases are spiking in Cook County's younger population, particularly people in their 20s and 30s, as that age group isn't largely vaccinated.

Read more here.

Illinois Vaccinations

Note: For COVID-19, the herd-immunity threshold is estimated to be between 60 and 90 percent. Our analysis considers herd immunity reached at 75% of the population fully vaccinated based on estimates by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

 

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