Cook County will release about 15,000 single and first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments Friday, the first in which all Illinois residents over the age of 16 will be eligible.
Meanwhile, the University of Chicago has issued a stay-at-home order in response to a "large cluster" of coronavirus cases, particularly among undergraduate students.
And what makes someone more likely that others to experience side effects from the COVID vaccine? Experts weigh in.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
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CPS High Schools to Open This April Despite Pushback From Teachers Union Over COVID Concerns
Chicago Public High Schools are preparing to reopen this April despite pushback from the city’s teachers union over COVID-19 concerns.
On April 19, the first day of CPS' fourth quarter, those in ninth through 12th grades can return for classroom instruction, though teaching models will vary with each school, the district announced last month.
However, the Chicago Teachers Union expressed concern about the reopening less than two weeks away as COVID cases continue to rise, and said the district should offer vaccinations to students.
Read more here.
Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Opens Monday: What You Need to Know
Illinois COVID vaccine eligibility expands to anyone age 16 and older, except for in the city of Chicago, on Monday.
More than 80 of Illinois' 102 counties have already expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to state residents 16 years and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
For a look at what you need to know before next week, click here.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 4,004 New COVID Cases, 21 Deaths, 164K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 4,004 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 21 additional deaths in the last day, along with a record-breaking 164,000 vaccinations administered.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Friday's new cases brought the state to 1,273,200 since the pandemic began last year. The number of new cases has continued to rise in recent weeks in the state, with some officials fearing that a new surge could be taking place even as vaccinations continue to rise.
The statewide positivity remained the same Friday, with 4.2% of all tests returning positive results. The positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days also stayed at 4.8%, according to IDPH data.
As of Friday, the state has administered nearly 6.8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, while receiving 8,841,285 doses.
Read more here.
Cook County to Release 15K 1st Dose Appointments as Eligibility Expands
Cook County Health officials will release approximately 15,000 single and first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments Friday, the first-such release that will allow residents 16 years of age and older to book appointments as the state expands eligibility next week.
The appointments will be for the week of April 12, the same week that Illinois officials will allow any residents 16 and older to book a vaccine appointment. Vaccinations at Cook County's sites are open to all eligible Illinois residents and remain appointment only
The appointments will be released at 12 p.m. and can be booked on the Cook County vaccine website or by calling the county's hotline at (833) 308-1988.
Officials say the appointments will be for four locations:
- Forest Park (Pfizer) – Former HOBO retail store at 7600 West Roosevelt Road
- South Suburban College (Pfizer) – 15800 State Street, South Holland
- Triton College (Pfizer) – 2000 5th Avenue, River Grove
- Tinley Park Convention Center (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) – 18451 Convention Center Drive
What Makes You More Likely to Get Side Effects From COVID Vaccine?
Side effects are possible after receiving either one or two doses of any of the three coronavirus vaccines currently being administered in the U.S., but not everyone experiences them. Experiencing side effects isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a sign your body is responding.
So what makes someone more likely to experience them than others?
Women and younger people are more likely to report side effects, experts say, while side effects could also vary depending on whether or not you've had coronavirus.
People are more likely to report side effects after their second dose, Chicago's top doctor said, echoing reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But not getting side effects isn't negative, health experts say.
University of Chicago Issues Stay-at-Home Order Due to ‘Large Cluster' of COVID Cases
The University of Chicago issued a stay-at-home order Thursday, among other restrictions, in response to a "large cluster" of coronavirus cases at the school, particularly among undergraduate students.
University officials said tests in recent days detected more than 50 cases involving students, many of whom live in residence halls, noting in an alert, "We expect this number to increase."
These are the new mitigations in place:
- Students living in residence halls must observe a new stay-at-home period for seven days, beginning immediately and lasting through April 15
- All classes will be fully remote for at least seven days
- All on-campus dining will be on a takeout-only basis until further notice
- Any students who have recently attended a party or unmasked gathering are asked to be tested immediately for the coronavirus
- Students are urged to cooperate with the university's contact tracing team to limit any further spread of the virus
- Outdoor tends on campus will be closed for at least seven days
- Non-curricular in-person programming is suspended during the stay-at-home period
Many COVID-19 cases on the University of Chicago campus have been connected to one or more parties held at off-campus fraternities over the past week, school officials said.
If Exposed to COVID While Vaccinated, Do You Need to Quarantine? Chicago's Top Doc Answers
If exposed to COVID-19 while fully vaccinated, do you still need to quarantine? Chicago's top doctor says no.
During a Facebook Live event, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said those who have been fully vaccinated from the coronavirus do not need to quarantine if exposed to COVID.
"The CDC recommends that you do not if you are fully vaccinated," Arwady said. "You are considered protected against COVID and you would not need to quarantine after an exposure."
She reminded that though the vaccine are "very protective," they do not entirely prevent the spread of COVID-19, as the city has seen some cases in people fully vaccinated.
"Not a lot, it's unusual, but it happens," Arwady said. "And so we do ask people after an exposure certainly to be extra careful with monitoring their symptoms, extra careful with wearing your mask."
72 of 2.5 Million Individuals Vaccinated Against COVID Hospitalized Due to Virus, Ezike Says
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says that the state of Illinois is receiving more COVID doses by the day, and that vaccination efforts so far have been wildly successful in preventing serious illness from the disease.
According to Ezike, just 72 of the more than 2.5 million individuals in the state who have been fully vaccinated against the virus have been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 following their shots, with just 0.003% of vaccinated individuals developing serious-enough cases of the virus to be hospitalized.
Ezike used those numbers to emphasize that rising COVID hospitalizations in the state are coming from those individuals who have not been vaccinated, and that the data proves that getting the vaccine is the most effective way to avoid serious illness.
Illinois to Release 150K Vaccine Appointments as Eligibility Expands Next Week
Illinois plans to release 150,000 new first-dose COVID vaccine appointments for next week as eligibility expands in the state to include any state residents 16 and older, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
The appointments, which Pritzker said will be released "in the coming days," will be for vaccinations at any of the 11 state-supported mass vaccination sites and area pharmacies.
Chicago Residents ‘Welcome' to Sign Up For COVID Vaccine Appointments in Suburbs, Officials Say
Chicago residents are welcome to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Illinois mass vaccinations sites throughout the suburbs, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.
"They're absolutely welcome to," Pritzker said. "I want to make sure that people in Chicago know that they are welcome to sign up for our mass vaccination sites."
Pritzker said he knows Chicago opens vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older on April 19. Hence, he said, people should feel able to make appointments in the suburbs as the rest of Illinois opens eligibility on Monday.
Gov. Pritzker Gives COVID Vaccine Update, Visits Vaccination Site
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered a COVID vaccine update from a vaccination site in suburban Forest park on Thursday.
He reiterated that the state - outside Chicago - will expand eligibility to anyone over 16 on Monday in line with his previous announcement.
"As a reminder, even with improved vaccine shipments, patience continues to be the watchword here," Pritzker said. "We continue to have special vaccine clinics for seniors and those most vulnerable. So some doses are still reserved for them. But it is important that we begin to address the whole population, because the danger of the new variants, spreading means that we want every dose to get into arms as soon as humanly possible. The vaccine is the best weapon against the variants and it's the fastest ticket back to normal life."
Illinois has administered 6.7 million doses of vaccine thus far, Pritzker said, noting that 73% of seniors and 42% of people age 16 and up have had at least one dose.
Note: For COVID-19, the herd-immunity threshold is estimated to be between 60 and 90 percent. Our analysis considers herd immunity reached at 75% of the population fully vaccinated based on estimates by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Illinois and Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility: A Look at Who Qualifies Where
Who is eligible to get the COVID vaccine in Illinois and when? It all depends on where you're looking right now, but that will soon change.
Eligibility will expand to all residents over the age of 16 outside of Chicago next week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced.
Residents with certain underlying conditions as well as some essential workers are already eligible statewide, but in many counties, eligibility has already expanded to all residents age 16 and older.
For the full list, click here.
Which COVID Vaccine is Best For You and How Long Do They Last?
As new studies surrounding COVID vaccine efficacy and how long both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines last continue to emerge, how can you know which is best for you?
According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer some level of protection.
For a breakdown, click here.