coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: COVID Vaccine Incentives, Phase 5 Next Week

Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area

A decline in coronavirus vaccinations across the United States is prompting all sorts of incentives, including in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that his administration intends to move the state into the final phase of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Illinois Working on Plans for COVID Vaccine Lottery to Encourage Shots, Pritzker Says

Illinois could soon have a vaccine lottery similar to ones introduced in other U.S. states aimed at boosting the number of COVID vaccinations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

In an interview with NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern, Pritzker said the state is still working out details but he anticipates an announcement "relatively soon."

"The legislature gave us the ability through our lottery in the state to be able to offer something," Pritzker said. "Again, the details of which we haven't really worked out, but we're going to come forward with that as soon as we can."

Pritzker said his goal is to get 80-85% of eligible residents vaccinated through a variety of incentives, which have so far included things like Six Flags Great America tickets and free trap shooting range plays in the state.

More on the possible Illinois vaccine lottery.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 674 New COVID Cases, 24 Deaths, 36K Vaccinations

Illinois health officials on Thursday reported 674 new coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths in the past day, along with more than 36,000 vaccinations.

The newly reported confirmed and probable coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,383,739 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,865, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In the last 24 hours, 55,432 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 24.7 million now conducted during the pandemic.

See more COVID data for Illinois.

Chicago Will Fully Reopen in Phase 5 on June 11 With the Rest of Illinois, Lightfoot Says

Chicago will fully reopen in Phase 5 on June 11 with the rest of Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.

"Because you've masked up, socially distanced and got vaccinated, we're now moving to Phase 5 on Friday, June 11 in alignment with the state. This means Chicago is scheduled to fully reopen," Lightfoot tweeted.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last month that Illinois - currently in the Bridge Phase, which is a transitional period before a full reopening in Phase 5 - was on track to move to that final phase of the plan on June 11.

More on what Phase 5 means for you.

Illinois, Federal Officials Look to Incentives to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccinations

A dramatic decline in coronavirus vaccinations across the United States is prompting all sorts of incentives, and while leaders are hopeful that those programs will work, there are still plenty of questions to answer.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker just signed a bill that will permit bars and restaurants to give vaccinated customers a free drink as a reward for getting their shots.

Six Flags Great America is also donating 50,000 tickets to newly vaccinated residents, and Pritzker says the state is even considering a lottery for vaccinated residents, similar to a $1 million giveaway that Ohio officials pioneered last month.

Read more here.

Pharmacy Students Create Vaccination Timeline to Help Lollapalooza Attendees

Pharmacy students from the University of Illinois-Chicago have designed a schedule to help Lollapalooza attendees get fully vaccinated in time for the musical extravaganza in Grant Park, which runs July 29 through Aug. 1.

The students were tasked with designing a public health message and chose to focus on the vaccination timeline in the weeks ahead of the event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Lollapalooza organizers have said attendees must be fully vaccinated or receive a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours ahead of entry to the event.

According to the UIC students’ research, concert-goers would need the first dose of the Moderna vaccine by June 17, the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by June 24 and the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose before July 15 in order to be fully vaccinated by the start of Lollapalooza.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 478 New COVID Cases, 9 Deaths, 29K Vaccinations

Illinois health officials on Wednesday reported 478 new coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths in the past day, along with more than 29,000 vaccinations.

The newly reported confirmed and probable coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,383,065 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,842, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate reported Wednesday was 1.5% of all tests conducted, and the average positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days was 1.8%, according to IDPH data.

The state reported 29,322 vaccinations in the last day, according to the latest data, bringing the seven-day rolling average of vaccinations to 41,234 doses.

More on Illinois COVID data.

Can Employers Require COVID Vaccines for Employees?

Can employers require COVID vaccinations for employees?

Yes, with some exceptions.

Experts say U.S. employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others.

Discover more on COVID vaccination proof guidelines.

What is Phase 5 in Illinois?

Illinois is expected to enter its final reopening phase in a matter of days, but what will that mean for the state?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that his administration intends to move the state into Phase 5 of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

“We are (meeting our goals), and in fact it’s (Phase 5) scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said.

Phase 5 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan would remove all remaining capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, according to the state’s COVID website. Conventions, festivals and other large events would be allowed to proceed at full capacity, and masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals in most settings, per CDC guidance.

More on Illinois Phase 5.

Got Symptoms? You Should Still Get Tested for COVID Even If You're Vaccinated, Expert Says

Should vaccinated individuals get tested for coronavirus if they are experiencing COVID symptoms?

Yes, according to Chicago experts.

During a Facebook Live Tuesday with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, Dr. Isaac Ghinai, an epidemic intelligence service officer, said that while vaccinated individuals do not require COVID testing as often as non-vaccinated people, those with symptoms should still get tested.

Read more.

Illinois On Pace to Enter Phase 5 Later This Month, Pritzker Says

As the state of Illinois continues to see improvements in all of its key coronavirus metrics, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that his administration intends to move the state into the final phase of COVID mitigation strategies next week.

Pritzker, speaking after the Illinois General Assembly adjourned on Tuesday, said that the state is on pace to meet its goal of eliminating all remaining COVID restrictions by next week, citing improvements in the state’s metrics as the reason behind the decision to move forward.

“We are (meeting our goals), and in fact it’s (Phase 5) scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said.

More on what Phase 5 would mean for Illinois.

Pfizer, Moderna, J&J Vaccines: With Availability Increasing, Which Vaccine is Best for You?

With COVID vaccinations readily available across Illinois and Chicago, how can you know which vaccine is best for you?

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, there are various reasons why someone might choose a particular vaccine, but "the most important thing is that somebody gets vaccinated."

Still, it's a question she says she gets asked often. So, how does she answer?

"You know, J&J is the one shot vaccine. It also has a slightly less side effect profile, meaning people are less likely to get some of those side effects," she said during a Facebook Live Tuesday. "Those side effects are not dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable if you have them. So if I have someone who's really worried about side effects, or who's worried about trying to miss work or fit in a vaccine, or is just really nervous about the vaccine, I actually will often recommend the J&J vaccine for them because it's one and done."

More on the best vaccine for you.

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