coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Lightfoot Updates on Vaccines, CPS Teachers Work Outside in Protest

Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor on Tuesday delivered an update on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Meanwhile, 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 pandemic continues.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today, Jan. 5:

Lincoln Park, Brookfield Zoos Announce Temporary Closures Until Spring

Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos announced their facilities will temporarily close until March, with one zoo beginning a new web series to reach people from home.

Lincoln Park Zoo closed Monday to the public as city guidelines do not allow the facility to open indoor buildings, which would be necessary during the colder months.

Chicago area's Brookfield Zoo closed Jan. 1 and announced the facility will reopen on March 1 "within state restrictions."

Details here.

Chicago Teachers Could Be Next in Line For COVID Vaccine, Lightfoot Suggests

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that she hopes teachers will be able to receive the coronavirus vaccine at some point in the next round of vaccinations.

"Absolutely, we want to make sure that teachers are in the queue for the next round," Lightfoot said Tuesday. "But I'll say it again, we have got to get more vaccine, we can't create an expectation of hope for people and not be able to deliver, that would be the worst kind of cruelty that could be created."

Lightfoot said the city is depending on the federal government to "step up" and ensure a sufficient amount of vaccines are sent nationwide. She added that before teachers can be considered, they must vaccinate all health care workers.

Read more here.

Illinois Reports 6,839 New Coronavirus Cases, 126 Additional Deaths Tuesday

Illinois health officials reported 6,839 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 126 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the latest figures available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the new cases bring the statewide total to 991,719 confirmed cases since the pandemic began last year.

The 126 deaths reported Tuesday lifted the state's death toll to 16,959, officials said.

In all, 87,083 tests have been returned to state laboratories in the last 24 hours, a marked increase from the day before. The latest testing numbers brought the state total to 13,617,454 test conducted throughout the pandemic.

The rolling seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of tests stood at 8.5% as of Tuesday, according to IDPH. The positivity rate of all tests was 9.8%, the same as the day before.

According to IDPH data, 3,905 patients were hospitalized due to coronavirus as of Monday night, a slight decrease from the previous day. Of those patients, 800 were in intensive care units, while 457 patients were on ventilators.

New COVID Strain Likely Already in Chicago, May Have Sparked 2nd Surge: Health Official

A new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus currently sparking lockdowns as it quickly spreads across the U.K. and through multiple U.S. states is likely already in Chicago and may have been behind the city's recent second surge, according to a health expert with the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Dr. Marielle Fricchione, medical director at the Chicago Department of Public Health, said there are already several COVID-19 mutations and variants circulating in the city and health officials believe the newest strain causing problems in the U.K. is "likely circulating already."

"Other states have found that it's already circulating, it may have led to our second wave," Fricchione said. "That's purely speculation, but from what we learned from the first wave, and as we get more sequencing data from our local hospitals that have specimens, we'll be able to report a little bit more on that. But the the general consensus from the CDC is that it's likely already circulating here."

Fricchione stressed that "layered mitigations" continue to be effective against the new strain and noted that data so far does not indicate the strain causes more severe illness.

"This isn't atypical for viruses, respiratory viruses, in particular," she said. "They mutate because they want to survive."

Half of Teachers Did Not Return to Chicago Public Schools as Ordered on Monday, District Says

Just over half of all teachers ordered to report to Chicago Public Schools on Monday did not show up to prepare for in-person instruction as the district rolls out its reopening plan, CPS says.

Should teachers and staff continue to not report to schools as expected, the district may begin a progressive discipline policy that could lead to their firing, CPS' CEO indicated Tuesday.

A total of 60.2% of all school-based staff required to return reported to work Monday, CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson said during a news conference Tuesday. That included 49.7% of all teachers and 70% of all paraprofessionals, she said.

Jackson said that the 60% figure was "significant, considering the fact that they were pressured" not to return by the Chicago Teachers Union, which has repeatedly expressed safety concerns over the district's plan to return to classrooms as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Jackson noted that approximately 83% of employees were present on the first two days after winter break in early 2020, which she said was the district's typical attendance expectation.

Read more here.

Lightfoot, Chicago's Top Doctor Update on Vaccine Rollout

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor on Tuesday delivered an update on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady spoke at a news conference at Norwegian American Hospital as some health care workers received their second doses of the vaccine.

Over the weekend, Lightfoot criticized the federal government for the vaccine rollout, 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.

Chicago COVID-19 Vaccine Map: See Where People Have Been Vaccinated by ZIP Code

Which parts of Chicago have seen the most vaccinations against the coronavirus? The city is sharing public data on COVID-19 vaccine doses administered each day, sorted by ZIP code.

The ZIP code that has seen the most vaccinations as of Monday is 60622 on the Near West Side, according to the city's data, which says 1,815 first doses of the vaccine have been administered to residents of that area.

After that, 1,801 residents of the 60657 ZIP code on the North Side have received their first doses of the vaccine, while 1,708 residents of the 60611 ZIP code on the Near North Side have gotten their first shots.

You can see how many people have been vaccinated in each of Chicago's ZIP codes, as well as what percentage of the population that is, in the map below.

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.

Here's a look at what the governor has said and when in recent weeks.

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

Suburban Cook County residents are now able to fill out a survey from the Department of Public Health to express interest in receiving the new coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks and months, a step the department says is critical to rolling out the treatment to the county’s 2.5 million residents.

The survey, originally open to health care and essential workers who work in the suburban portions of the county, is also now open to residents interested in receiving the vaccine, the department announced late Monday.

There had been some confusion over whether residents could fill out the survey earlier in the day, but those questions were resolved in the evening as officials seek to gain a fuller understanding of how they will roll out the treatment as more doses become available.

“We are seeking to deliver updated, transparent information directly to the public so that the giant task of immunizing up to 2.5 million residents can be accomplished efficiently and equitably over the coming weeks and months,” the department said in a press release.

The survey, which can be found at the county’s website, can be filled out by residents living in CCDPH’s jurisdiction, and healthcare workers living in the jurisdiction of the health department can fill out a separate survey available on the website.

Officials are cautioning residents that the public health department’s jurisdiction does not include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park or Stickney Township, which all have their own health departments and are handling the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in different ways.

Those who fill out the survey will be put on a list to receive more information about the vaccine, and the list will also be used to disseminate information on when the vaccine will be available to the general public, according to officials.

Those who do not have access to the internet and still want to be added to the county’s contact list can call the COVID hotline at 708-836-4755, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more here.

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