Chicago has been ramping up COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts across the city, providing free haircuts as incentive Saturday afternoon.
Plus, the state prepares to enter Phase 5 of the coronavirus reopening plan at the end of next week.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Coronavirus in Illinois: 538 New COVID Cases, 32 Deaths, 55K Vaccinations
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Illinois health officials on Saturday reported 538 new coronavirus cases and 32 additional deaths in the past day, along with more than 55,000 vaccinations.
The newly reported confirmed and probable coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,384,903 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,912, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate reported Saturday was 1.3% of all tests conducted, and the average positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days was 1.5%, according to IDPH data.
The state reported 55,505 vaccinations in the last day, according to the latest data, bringing the seven-day rolling average of vaccinations to 36,130 doses.
More on the latest COVID data in Illinois.
Chicago Provides Free Haircuts to Those Who Receive COVID Vaccine
Chicago officials will provide free haircuts Saturday afternoon, as well as other vouchers, to those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
As part of the Vax & Relax campaign, residents who choose to have a COVID vaccination will get a free haircut and enjoy live music at participating city barber shops.
Learn more about perks from the city with a COVID vaccination.
Illinois Phase 5: Governor Releases Guidelines for State's Reopening Next Week
With Illinois set to fully reopen next week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker released the guidelines for Phase 5 and what exactly it means for residents.
While Phase 5 is set to mark a full reopening, beginning on June 11, not all restrictions will be lifted.
According to the governor, entry into Phase 5 "will mean businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and seated-spectator venues, among others, will be able to operate at full capacity for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The state will also lift its outdoor mask requirement in schools in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Full breakdown of Illinois' Phase 5 guidelines.
Cubs Approved for 100 Percent Capacity at Wrigley Field
For the first time since September 2019, Wrigley Field will be at 100 percent fan capacity.
The city of Chicago and state of Illinois have approved the Cubs to host fans at full capacity beginning next Friday, June 11, the club announced Friday.
Perhaps fittingly, the capacity increase begins when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley, the two clubs' first meeting in Chicago this season.
The last time the Cubs hosted fans at full capacity was Sept. 19-22, 2019, also against the Cardinals. St. Louis swept the four-game series.
Chicago Health Officials Expand 'Hyperlocal Vaccine Outreach'
Chicago's health department joined several community leaders Friday "to discuss a further expansion of hyperlocal vaccine outreach."
The expansion will include door-to-door canvassing encouraging COVID vaccinations in 13 communities, which officials say have been identified as having the lowest vaccination rates.
Chicago Phase 5: What Will Change in the Weeks Ahead?
The city of Chicago made a significant announcement on Thursday, saying that it plans to join the rest of the state of Illinois in moving to Phase 5 of the coronavirus reopening plan.
Chicago and the rest of the state will move into that phase on June 11, with officials citing declining numbers of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths statewide, along with increasing numbers of coronavirus vaccinations statewide.
The big question for Chicago residents, and for the rest of the state, is what exactly Phase 5 entails.
At its most basic level, Phase 5 will remove all capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, with “businesses, schools and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures,” according to state officials.
A complete breakdown of Phase 5.
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.
People Who Recovered From COVID and Received Vaccine May Be Better Protected from Variants, Expert Says
If a person has successfully combatted COVD-19 and received a vaccination, that individual could be protected from variants of the virus, according to a Chicago expert.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event Thursday that, based on recent studies, people who fought the coronavirus and are protected with the vaccine could have a strong enough immune system against any new variants.
"In the people who had recovered from COVID and been vaccinated -- what they saw was that basically their immune system had learned more, how to also protect them from variants...in addition to some immunity against, you know, the original strain of COVID," Arwady said.
More on protection against COVID-19 variants.
COVID-19 Reopening: Cubs, White Sox Set for Full Capacity
Great news for Cubs and White Sox fans hoping to get closer to the full experience Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field offer. According to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago will join the rest of Illinois in moving to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois COVID-19 plan.
Per the Restore Illinois website, Phase 5 includes the following:
- All sectors of the economy reopen with businesses, schools, and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures.
- Conventions, festivals, and large events can take place.
This means both the Cubs and the White Sox will be able to allow 100% capacity at baseball games, starting next Friday. However this isn’t a guarantee that things will remain completely open going forward.
More on Phase 5 guidelines.
Kroger Offers Chance to Win $1M, Free Groceries For a Year With COVID Vaccination
For those vaccinated against COVID-19, Kroger is offering this summer the chance to win a check for $1 million or a year of free groceries.
Kroger, which owns the Chicago-area Mariano's stores, launched the #CommunityImmunity Giveaway, which will provide five people with checks for $1 million and 50 people with groceries for a year.
Starting Thursday and running through July 10, Kroger will provide one new person a $1 million check each week for five weeks, as well as 10 people weekly with $13,000 for free groceries for a year.
These are the requirements to enter.
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.