coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Chicago Public Schools ‘Cooling Off,' Cook County Vaccine Appointments

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Chicago Public Schools announced that educators would not be locked out of their virtual classrooms as negotiations with the teachers union continue over a return to in-person learning.

Meanwhile, appointments for suburban Cook County's second large COVID-19 community vaccination site, Triton College in River Grove, will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Here are the latest COVID-19 headlines from around the state:

BBB Says Think Twice Before Posting a Photo of This After Getting Your COVID Vaccine

Excited about getting your coronavirus vaccine? You might want to think twice before you post about it on social media.

The Better Business Bureau issued a warning that sharing images of vaccination cards on social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. It could also lead to scammers creating fake vaccination cards.

“Unfortunately, your card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine," Steve Bernas, president and CEO of BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois said in a statement. "If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use.”

nstead, those getting vaccinated are being encouraged to share their vaccine stickers instead.

"If you want to post about your vaccine, there are safer ways to do it," the BBB said.

For advice on how to keep your identity safe, click here.

Here's How to Sign Up for a COVID Vaccine Without Internet

Chicago launched a new site where residents can schedule coronavirus vaccine appointments, but how can residents receive a vaccination without going online?

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a press conference Tuesday that the city has a variety of ways to ensure residents who do not have internet access can still receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The city's primary approach for people not digitally-connected is through health care providers, Arwady said, many of which are reaching out to patients to inform when a vaccine will be available to them.

"This also helps to make sure that our vaccine is going to Chicago residents, people who get ongoing medical care in Chicago," Arwady said. "And it really helps us, as we saw in this data from this last week, get to our older Chicagoans (vaccinated), who in many cases may not be as connected to the internet."

She added that through Chicago Protect and other outreach programs, some workers are headed door-to-door offering residents the opportunity to book a vaccination appointment through the city.

Chicago officials are additionally working with churches and community-based organizations to create vaccination POD sites for area residents, Arwady said.

Chicago Launches New COVID Vaccine Scheduler Offering 'Real-Time' Look at Availability

Chicago has launched a new site where residents can schedule coronavirus vaccine appointments and get a real-time look at availability, officials announced Tuesday.

The new platform, done in partnership with Zocdoc, will show appointment availability for city POD sites, as well as "care organizations" like AMITA Health, Erie Family Health, Innovative Express Care and Rush University Medical Center.

Here's how to use it and where you can sign up.

2 More Illinois Regions 'on Track' to Move to Phase 4 Mitigations Wednesday: IDPH

Two more Illinois regions are "on track" to move to Phase 4 mitigations this week if they continue to trend in the right direction, health officials announced Tuesday.

Regions 8 and 9 - which include DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties in the Chicago area - are expected to be able to further loosen restrictions as early as Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

"If all the mitigation metrics continue to improve, regions 8 and 9 will move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Wednesday," the department said in a release.

The move would bring all but one Illinois region back to Phase 4 of the state's reopening guidelines after the state began allowing regions to move forward in mid-January.

Illinois Reports 2,304 New COVID-19 Cases, 47 Additional Deaths Tuesday

Health officials in Illinois have reported 2,304 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 47 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Tuesday's new cases bring the state to 1,130,917 cases of the virus in the state, with 19,306 deaths attributed to COVID since the pandemic began last year.

IDPH also noted that Regions 8 and 9 are on track to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Wednesday.

Over the last 24 hours, 60,899 test specimens have been turned in to state laboratories, bringing the statewide total number of tests performed to 16,161,454.

The seven-day positivity rate remained the same on Tuesday, sitting at 3.9%, its lowest mark since October. The positivity rate on individuals tested during that time stands at 4.9%.

As of Monday night, there were 2,447 coronavirus patients in Illinois hospitals. Of those patients, 533 were currently in intensive care units, while 265 were on ventilators.

Several Chicago Suburbs Move to Phase 4 Mitigations Tuesday, Health Officials Say

Suburban Cook County moved to Phase 4 coronavirus mitigation rules Tuesday, allowing several Chicago-area suburbs to loosen restrictions even further, the state's health department announced.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 10, which includes Cook County suburbs outside of the city of Chicago, has met the metrics required to move to the less-restrictive rules on Tuesday.

Region 10 marks the eighth region in the state to move back to that level since the state began allowing regions to move forward in mid-January. On Monday, Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, moved to Phase 4, while the city of Chicago entered a modified version of the phase over the weekend.

Chicago Launching COVID Vaccine Appointments Through Zocdoc, Officials Set to Announce

Chicagoans looking for coronavirus vaccine appointments will soon be able to schedule their visits through an online portal in partnership with Zocdoc, the city is scheduled to announce Tuesday.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner is expected to announce the partnership at a 1 p.m. press conference Tuesday. (Watch live here at 1 p.m.)

The so-called Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler will be free of charge and "is designed to streamline vaccine scheduling," the city said in a release.

"Although the supply of vaccines is currently very limited, appointments will be added on an ongoing basis as more vaccines are allocated to providers. Chicagoans are still encouraged to seek a vaccine appointment with their primary care providers, if they have one, and also through local pharmacies or their employers, if available," the release states. "But the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler will serve as a free, public resource for Chicagoans who otherwise might have difficulty finding and accessing a vaccine."

Chicago's South Side Irish Parade Canceled For Second Year

Chicago's 2021 South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade "will not run its traditional march down Western Avenue," event organizers announced Tuesday, marking a second year of cancelation for the iconic parade because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Due to the continued public health concerns of COVID-19, the City of Chicago has announced it will not be issuing any permits for parades or large gatherings in the first quarter of 2021," parade organizers said in a statement Tuesday.

Organizers said the parade's committee is exploring alternate ways to celebrate the community's Irish heritage "to respect the public health and safety of all."

Read more here.

6 Chicago Walmart Locations Are Administering COVID-19 Vaccinations

Six Walmart locations in Chicago are administering COVID-19 vaccinations, the company says.

The locations where vaccines are currently available, according to the retailer, include:

  • 7535 S. Ashland Ave.
  • 4650 W. North Ave.
  • 4626 W. Diversey Ave.
  • 2551 W. Cermak Rd.
  • 8331 S. Stewart Ave.
  • 10900 S. Doty Ave.

Walmart is one of several retailers providing COVID-19 vaccinations to Illinois residents. The company began administering the shots late last month in more than 150 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs across a dozen states, including Illinois and Indiana.

Read more here.

CPS, CTU Avoid Teacher Lockout, Remote Learning to Continue During ‘Cooling Off' Period

After "substantial progress" was made in negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union on Monday, the district announced Monday evening that teachers will not be locked out from Google Suite, with virtual learning continuing for students for at least the next two days.

According to an email from CPS, students will have remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday as negotiations continue, with a teacher's lockout now off the table for the time being.

“We have reached another important milestone today in our efforts to provide in-person learning for our students in the Chicago Public Schools system," Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS Director Dr. Janice Jackson said in a statement. "We have secured agreement on one other open issue and made substantial progress on a framework that we hope will address the remaining issues. We are calling for a 48-hour cooling off period that will hopefully lead to a final resolution on all open issues."

The news comes after a Sunday ultimatum delivered by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said that CPS would be prepared to "take action" if teachers did not report to their classrooms Monday.

Amid the often-tense negotiations, teachers had voted in January to go back to remote-learning, even with pre-K and cluster learning students already back in classrooms. That vote was made in response to CPS calling for teachers to return to K-8 classrooms on Jan. 25, with those students returning to those classrooms on Feb. 1.

CPS officials said over the weekend that if teachers did not return to schools on Monday, they would be considered “absent without leave” and would not be authorized to conduct remote learning until they report back to their classrooms.

Read more here.

Appointments Open Tuesday for New Cook County COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site

Appointments for suburban Cook County's second large COVID-19 community vaccination site, Triton College in River Grove opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Appointments can be made at Those without internet access or who need assistance scheduling can call 833-308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Under Phase 1B, the current phase of Illinois' vaccination rollout, people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers," which includes first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff and grocery store employees, are eligible.

You can find more information on appointments here.

Illinois Adds 41 New COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Across State

The state of Illinois has added 41 new COVID-19 vaccination sites since Jan. 26, according to a news release from state health officials Monday.

More than 3.2 million of the state's residents are eligible for vaccinations under Phase 1B, which includes people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers." Among those in that category are: first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff as well as grocery store employees and postal workers.

In all, 310 vaccination sites have opened across the state.

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