Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today, Jan. 4:
Illinois Reports 5,059 New Cases of Coronavirus, 79 Additional Deaths Monday
Illinois health officials reported 5,059 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with 79 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to the latest figures available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the new cases bring the state to 984,880 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The 79 additional deaths Monday bring the state to 16,834 during the pandemic.
In all, 48,254 tests have been returned to state laboratories in the last 24 hours, bringing the state total to 13,530,371 during the pandemic.
According to IDPH data, 3,948 patients are currently hospitalized due to coronavirus, an uptick from Sunday. Of those patients, 816 are currently in intensive care units, while 471 patients are on ventilators at this time.
"The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Dec. 28, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021 is 8.6%," IDPH said in a statement. "The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Dec. 28, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021 is 9.8%."
When Might Tiered Mitigations Be Lifted? Here's What the Governor Has Said
With the holidays over and the New Year beginning, when might Illinois start to see its tiered mitigations lifted?
Currently, Illinois is under Tier 3 mitigations, which have lowered capacity limitations for outdoor dining, left indoor dining suspended and increased other restrictions.
According to Gov. J.B. Pritzker the answer on when things could begin to reopen isn't concrete.
Chicago Teachers Conduct Remote Classes Outside School After Staff Ordered Back
Chicago Public Schools teachers bundled up and conducted remote learning sessions outside one school in a sort of protest against the district ordering some staff back into schools on Monday despite safety concerns as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Teachers at Brentano Math and Science Academy on the city's Northwest Side sat at socially distanced tables outside the school, wearing masks and full winter gear as they taught classes virtually.
Chicago Teachers Union organizer Jhoanna Maldonado said the teachers outside were from several different grade levels, teaching outside in support of pre-K staff who had been ordered to return to the school to prepare for in-person instruction.
Cook County Releases COVID Vaccine Registration Form for Residents
NOTE: Cook County's Department of Public Health is expected to address the form's release in a press conference . Watch live here.
Suburban Cook County residents can now register for coronavirus vaccine updates, including when they will be able to receive their first shots and where as Illinois continues its rollout to administer doses.
According to the Cook County Department of Public Health's website, the new registration form will be used "to gather information from individuals who would like to receive regular updates about when and where they can receive the COVID-19 vaccination."
Though the department notes that vaccine doses remain limited and are currently being administered to prioritized populations, including health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff, it asks any resident who is "not affiliated with a healthcare organization of any type" to fill out the survey.
Meanwhile, organizations with staff currently eligible to receive the vaccine can register to receive "updates regarding when their staff can receive COVID-19 vaccine" here.
Some Chicago Public Schools Teachers Ordered to Return to Schools Monday
For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, some Chicago Public Schools educators will return to the classroom Monday to prepare for in-person instruction despite opposition from dozens of elected officials and the Chicago Teachers Union.
In accordance with the district's reopening plan, pre-kindergarten and cluster program staff members will return Monday, and their students will head back to the classroom the following week, starting Jan. 8.
Staff members for kindergarten through eighth grades will be back in school buildings on Monday, Jan. 25, followed by their students the next Monday, Feb. 1.
Of the roughly 5,000 teachers ordered to report to school buildings on Monday, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said, about 1,800 asked for special accommodations, and only about 600 received them.
"I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen tomorrow," he told NBC 5 Sunday. "Certainly what I’m hearing is that a number of teachers are going to not be showing up at work tomorrow, at least not in person."
In-person instruction will be an option for students' families, with remote learning also being available, according to the reopening plan.
COVID-19 by the Numbers: Illinois Coronavirus Metrics by Region
As the holiday season fades into the rearview mirror, Illinois health officials are keeping an eye on coronavirus metrics, seeking to find out whether there could be a surge in cases coming following holiday gatherings.
In some locations, COVID metrics are already on the rise, with nine of the state's 11 healthcare regions seeing increases in their positivity rates in recent days.
Region 1 (Northwest Illinois):
The region's positivity rate increased to 10% on Sunday, according to IDPH data. Hospitalizations have decreased on eight of the last 10 days, with hospital bed availability (30.8%) and ICU bed availability (24.4%) both increasing.
Region 2 (West- Central Illinois):
The region's positivity rate increased to 9.5% on Sunday, while the region's ICU bed availability fell to 21.4%. Hospitalizations decreased, while hospital bed availability (26.3%) increased, per officials.
Region 3 (West Illinois):
The region's hospital bed availability (27%) went up, while its ICU bed availability (24.8%) remained largely steady. Hospitalizations have decreased eight of the last 10 days, while the region's positivity rate (8.7%) bumped up slightly.
Region 4 (Southwest Illinois):
This region currently has the state's highest positivity rate, rising to 13%. Hospital bed availability (16%) and ICU bed availability (25.6%) has gone up, while hospitalizations have dropped for 10 straight days.
Region 5 (South Illinois):
The region was one of two to see its positivity rate drop, falling to 12.1%. Hospital bed availability went up (35.4%), but hospitalizations have increased two of the last four days and ICU bed availability remained steady at 13.1%.
Region 6 (East-Central Illinois):
The region has the lowest positivity rate in the state, sitting at 8.9%. The region's hospital bed availability went up to 28.1%, but hospitalizations have increased four of the last five days, and ICU bed availability has dropped to 31%.
Region 7 (Will, Kankakee counties):
The region's positivity rate increased to 10.6%, but other metrics are trending in good directions, with hospital bed availability (26.2%) and ICU bed availability (26.1%) both increasing and hospitalizations decrease in the last nine days.
Region 8 (DuPage, Kane counties):
The region's positivity rate increased to 9.8%, with hospital bed availability (20.9%) trending upward. The region's ICU bed availability remained steady at 25.6%, while hospitalizations have dropped nine of the last 10 days.
Region 9 (McHenry, Lake counties):
The region's positivity rate increased to 9.6%, while its hospital bed (15.7%) and ICU bed availability (27.3%) both decreased on Sunday. The region has seen hospitalizations increase each of the last two days.
Region 10 (Suburban Cook County):
The region's hospital bed availability (21.7%) and ICU bed availability (21.5%) both increased on Sunday, and the region has seen hospitalization decreases each of the last 10 days. The region's positivity rate did increase to 9.5%.
Region 11 (Chicago):
The city's hospital bed availability (20.6%) and ICU bed availability (24.6%) both increased Sunday, while the region has seen decreases in hospitalizations each of the last 10 days. The region's positivity rate did increase to 9.7% on Sunday.
‘We Need More:' Lightfoot Blasts COVID Vaccine Rollout, Says City Has Used 95% of Doses
As concerns grow over the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in the United States, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is criticizing the federal government, saying that it could take more than a year to administer the vaccine to all city residents at the current pace of dose shipments.
In a social media post Saturday, Lightfoot said that the city’s health department has administered more than 95% of the vaccine doses it has received so far from the federal government.
In the tweet, Lightfoot said that at the current rate of dose allocation, it would take 71 weeks to fully vaccinate all city residents.
“We need more vaccine. Now,” she said.
Illinois Residents Head to Indiana's Eateries to Dine Inside
Some Illinois residents fed up with their state's second ban on indoor dining amid the pandemic are heading to restaurants in adjacent Indiana so they can dine out with others.
When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois' second indoor dining ban in October due to surging COVID-19 numbers, many restauranteurs hoped the restrictions would be short-lived.
Three months later, restaurants in Illinois towns like Calumet City and Lansing that border northwest Indiana say they are seeing customers lured away by Indiana eateries not subject to the same restrictions, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
Teen Died 3 Days After Being Hospitalized With COVID-19, Mom Says
A Tinley Park mom says her daughter died just three days after the otherwise healthy teen was hospitalized with coronavirus just before Christmas.
Sarah Simental, a Lincoln-Way East senior who just turned 18 last month, first reported a minor headache on Dec. 16, her mother Deborah Simental said. The next day, she began feeling congested and had a sore throat.
Outside of her home, Simental had only seen her boyfriend prior to experiencing symptoms, her mother said.
On Friday, her symptoms continued as she developed a fever, chills and vomiting.
Saturday morning, her mother took her to get a coronavirus test and that evening her results came back positive. By the following Wednesday, she was hospitalized, and her oxygen levels dropped, forcing her to be taken to the ICU unit.
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