Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
As shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine are set to hit cities across the U.S. this week, the Chicago area is preparing for its initial doses.
Illinois health officials reported 7,216 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Sunday, along with 115 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Dec. 14):
First COVID-19 Vaccination Outside Chicago to Happen Tuesday in Peoria
The first coronaviurs vaccination outside Chicago will be given Tuesday at a hospital in Peoria, officials announced.
Healthcare workers at OSF Francis Medical Center will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside the city in Illinois at 11 a.m.
For more information on where vaccines will be administered Tuesday, click here.
Why Illinois Didn't Administer Its First Coronavirus Vaccine Monday, According to Pritzker
Several cities across the country administered their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine Monday, but while Illinois did receive its first shipments, the state and its largest city have yet to start vaccinations.
According to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, one reason for the state's delay is because the shipment needed to be divided into 96 separate deliveries.
"There were shipments made directly to certain hospitals by the federal government that arrived in your typical large cities, and then there were shipments that were made to the states to distribute among, in our case, 96 public health departments all across the state, excluding Chicago, which got a direct shipment," Pritzker said Monday. "So that's one of the reasons that you see a difference in arrival times and shipment times- that we have to receive it here and split it up into 96 different packages to go to those public health departments."
Pritzker cited the state's size among the reason the deliveries might take longer to reach residents.
"I think that's one of the reasons you hear everybody saying, you know, 'have patience,' is that this is going to take a little while because in Illinois, in particular, because we have a very large state and 96 local public health departments in many hospitals, just takes a little longer than it does to go to a big city, for example," Pritzker said.
Pritzker Says He'll Wait to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Until His ‘Turn Comes Up'
With the coronavirus vaccine arriving in Illinois for the first time this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that he will not be receiving the treatment right away, saying he will wait for the time his “turn comes up.”
During his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday, Pritzker says that he wants healthcare workers and workers and residents in long-term care facilities to get the treatment before he receives the injection, emphasizing their importance in the vaccination process.
“(I’ll get the vaccine) whenever I’m assigned a place in line,” he said. “We still have a lot of healthcare workers, and a lot of long-term care facilities that need to be covered, including the people who work at those facilities as well as the residents.”
Cook County Health Officials Lay Out Plans for First Phase of COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Health officials in Cook County laid out their plans Monday for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities will be among the first to receive the treatment.
The announcement was made during a press conference Monday, with officials saying that the county will begin administering the vaccine to eligible individuals this week.
“After a year that has presented unthinkable challenges to our residents, I’m grateful that the COVID-19 vaccine will become available in the coming weeks,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “As we look toward 2021, it is my hope that this vaccine, and Cook County’s plan to administer the vaccine, will provide renewed hope that we are a step closer to a sense of normalcy.”
County health officials announced that the first phase of the vaccine rollout will be limited to two categories of residents:
-Healthcare workers, particularly those who treat COVID patients
-Residents and staff at long-term care facilities
According to the county, hospitals will vaccinate their own employees as the treatment rolls out, and long-term care facilities are part of a federal program that will work with pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, among others, to vaccinate residents and staff.
More on the plan here.
How to Spot a COVID-19 Vaccine Con, According to the BBB
As the first FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine rolls out across the United States, the Better Business Bureau has issued a new warning: be on the lookout for phony versions of a vaccine.
“We want consumers to be forewarned [and] become educated,” said Steve Bernas, the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
The BBB says there are already reports of scam calls offering people a chance to avoid long lines and receive an early dose of the Pfizer vaccine for $79.99.
“This is my 33rd year at the BBB, and it’s probably the worst types of scams I’ve seen. These scammers are heartless and relentless,” said Bernas.
Watch out for phishing messages attempting to trick you into sharing your passwords and personal information. The BBB has also seen an increase in scams using robocalls to impersonate government officials.
Fraudsters are using telemarketing calls, text messages and social media platforms to market fake products.
To spot a likely COVID vaccine con, research carefully, be skeptical and do not respond to any solicitations about the vaccine, experts recommend.
They also say you should check with a doctor or trusted healthcare professional about vaccine eligibility and not buy any kind of COVID-19 vaccine or treatment on the internet or from an online pharmacy.
Lastly, ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers use urgency to cloud judgement and try to trick consumers into acting before thinking.
Illinois Review Board Endorses CDC Recommendations on COVID-19 Vaccine, Pritzker Says
Illinois’ independent review board has released its findings after investigating all FDA data on Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, unanimously endorsing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on the safety and the administration of the treatment.
The announcement was made by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday. Pritzker, who was on hand as state officials accepted delivery of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, says that the review board was looking for maximum transparency with the public about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, and that the board is currently updating COVID-19 guidance with all the information it gleaned from the CDC’s recommendations.
“We want everyone to be able to access the facts as clearly as possible as we have them,” he said. “Today is a very special day that should instill us all with optimism and hope.”
Read more here.
Illinois, Chicago to Administer First Coronavirus Vaccines Tuesday
Illinois and Chicago will both administer the first doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, state and city officials said.
In Chicago, the first doses will be given at 10:30 a.m. to health care workers at Loretto Hospital, located at 645 S. Central Ave., according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. The vaccination can be watched live in the video player above.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office said the first vaccinations done through the state's jurisdiction, with Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health officials monitoring, will be conducted Tuesday downstate. Further details on where and when the vaccinations would take place were not immediately available.
First Shipment of Coronavirus Vaccine Arrives in Illinois, Pritzker Says
The first shipment of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine arrived in Illinois on Monday, with thousands of doses now being processed to go to hospitals across the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
"I'm proud to report that Illinois’ first vaccine doses have arrived safely and are now being processed to go to our hospitals," Pritzker tweeted just after 1 p.m. "I was elated to witness our first shipment arrive at the Illinois Strategic National Stockpile and have great appreciation to those who made it possible."
Pritzker's office said the first shipment, delivered to the Illinois Strategic National Stockpile, contained approximately 43,000 doses of the vaccine.
Illinois officials said Chicago received a shipment from the federal government on Monday as well, one of five local health departments to receive direct shipments independent of the state.
The four others include: Cook County Department of Public Health, Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, Madison County Health Department, and St. Clair County Health Department.
Together, the six shipments account for the state's "expected allocation" of 100,000 doses, Pritzker's office said. That figure is slightly lower than what officials previously estimated would be 109,000 doses, with Chicago receiving 23,000 and 86,000 distributed around the rest of the state.
Illinois Reports 7,214 New Coronavirus Cases, 103 Additional Deaths Monday
Illinois health officials reported 7,214 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Monday, along with 103 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there have been 856,118 cases of the virus in the state since the pandemic began, along with 14,394 deaths attributed to the virus.
In the last 24 hours, state officials say 92,256 test specimens have been turned in to state laboratories, bringing the statewide total to 11,869,088 during the pandemic.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate on all tests conducted during that span is currently at 8.7%, while the positivity rate for residents tested for the virus is at 10.3%, officials say.
Hospitalizations related to the virus ticked downward on Monday to 4,951, with 1,070 of those patients occupying ICU beds and 621 on ventilators, according to health officials.
Watch Live: Gov. Pritzker to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine as First Doses Administered in US
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to talk about the coronavirus vaccine during his daily COVID-19 update Monday as the first doses were administered in the U.S.
Details surrounding when exactly Illinois' first dose will be given out weren't immediately clear Monday morning, but hospitals in Chicago and across Illinois have been preparing to receive the first doses for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of Pfizer's vaccine against COVID-19 Friday.
Pritzker is slated to deliver his daily update at 2:30 p.m. (Watch it live in the player above or click here)
Chicago-Area Hospitals Prepare for First Shipments of Coronavirus Vaccine
After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of Pfizer's vaccine against COVID-19, hospitals in Chicago and across Illinois are preparing to receive the first doses for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
The first of many freezer-packed COVID-19 vaccine vials made their way to distribution sites across the United States on Sunday, as the nation approaches a death toll of 300,000 lives lost since the pandemic began.
Illinois will receive approximately 109,000 doses of the vaccine in its first shipment. Chicago will receive 23,000 doses and 86,000 will be distributed around the rest of the state.
Here's What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine So Far
As shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine are set to hit cities across the U.S. this week, the Chicago area is preparing for its initial doses.
Over the past couple weeks, health experts have attempted to explain how the coronavirus vaccine will work and debunk any myths attached to its usage.
Click here for the latest on what we know and answers to some of your biggest questions like: When can I receive the vaccine? Where will it be available? What are the side effects? and more.
Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Application Deadline Looms
The deadline for Illinois small businesses to apply for coronavirus relief grants comes early this week, according to state officials.
In a coronavirus briefing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said small businesses owners have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to apply for the Business Interruption Grants.
"Since we launched the BIG program in June, making $540 million available to small businesses, with $270 million reserved for childcare businesses specifically – we’ve seen an enormous response, which speaks to the challenges faced by so many of our small businesses," Pritzker said.
At this point in the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has paid out more than $168 million of the $270 million devoted to small businesses to over 6,300 owners in over 500 cities around the state, Pritzker said.
He added that officials expect to continue using grants through the end of the year until all funding is allocated.
Pritzker said special consideration for the grants is given to businesses most heavily impacted by the pandemic, especially those in downstate communities, along with businesses making an annual revenue of $5 million or less. Businesses that have not received other forms of emergency assistance like the Paycheck Protection Program will also be more specifically considered.
"If you own a small business, or you know someone who does – make sure
they take the time to submit an application if they qualify," Pritzker said.
Illinois' BIG program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, according to Pritzker, with an average grant size of $25,000.
For more information, the governor said to visit Illinois.gov/DCEO.
Positivity Rates Fall Across State Healthcare Regions, Increase Only in Chicago
Ten of the state's 11 healthcare regions have seen a drop in positivity rates, except in Chicago where several metrics are on the rise, according to the latest data.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, both positivity rates and hospitalizations have begun to steadily decline across the state.
Region 11, however, was the only healthcare region to see an increase in positivity rates Dec. 10, rising to 12.5%. Though the region was seeing a steady decrease of hospitalizations over nine days, Chicago increased by two people Sunday.
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