illinois coronavirus

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: New COVID-19 Variant Reported, United Center Vaccine Site Latest

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The Chicago Department of Public Health reported the city's first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant Friday, which also marked the first such case in Illinois, according to health officials.

Meanwhile, the exclusive COVID-19 vaccine appointment registration for seniors will end Sunday afternoon, opening up the chance for more people in Phase 1B to receive the vaccine.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Can You Get a COVID Vaccine at the United Center If You're Not From Chicago?

Can you receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the United Center's mass vaccination site if you're not from the Chicago area? According to the White House, no.

The United Center location will serve up to 2.9 million people who live within a 30-minute drive time, the White House said, noting that 22,000 people live within a one-mile walking distance of the arena.

"The United Center is one of the best locations for vaccinating large numbers of people in America: it’s easy to get to, is in the midst of a medically underserved community, can handle large crowds and is well known to everyone in Illinois,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement last week.

The United Center is one of 18 "federally-established community vaccination centers" across the country that President Joe Biden's administration highlighted Friday as either recently opened or opening in the coming weeks.

Those sites, including the United Center, were selected based on a range of criteria including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Social Vulnerability Index."

Chicago and Cook County were identified as having a "significantly medically underserved and marginalized population," the White House said, adding that the United Center is located in a "central and accessible" area with nearby public transit and high walkability.

For more frequently asked questions on the United Center COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Chicago, click here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,565 New Cases, 50 Deaths, Over 134K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois on Saturday reported 2,565 new cases of coronavirus, along with 33 additional deaths and more than 134,000 vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Saturday's new confirmed and probable cases brought the state to 1,197,267 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The 50 new deaths reported Saturday bring the state to 20,750 fatalities during the pandemic, according to IDPH.

In the last 24 hours, 79,248 new test results have been returned to state laboratories, officials said, lifting the total number of tests performed to 18,572,096.

The state’s rolling 7-day average positivity rate rose to 2.4% Saturday, 0.2% higher than the previous day. For individuals tested for the virus, the positivity rate stands at 2.8%, according to IDPH data.

Read more here.

COVID Vaccine Appointments for the United Center Site Open to More People Sunday

The exclusive COVID-19 vaccine appointment registration for seniors will end Sunday afternoon, opening up the chance for more people in Phase 1B to receive the vaccine.

The United Center's new mass vaccination site opened this week with more than 100,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations exclusively for Illinois residents age 65 and over.

Following the special registration period exclusively for seniors, the site will be open to Illinois residents - not just those who live in Chicago - who currently qualify for vaccinations under the current Phase 1B Plus of the state's vaccine rollout plan.

"Then, once we get to Sunday, if we don't see all of the appointments taken by people over 65, starting 4 p.m. on Sunday is when we would then open up to people with underlying conditions," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

Read more here.

Illinois' First Case of More Contagious Brazilian COVID-19 Variant Reported in Chicago

The Chicago Department of Public Health reported the city's first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant Friday, which also marked the first such case in Illinois, according to health officials.

The case of the coronavirus variant P.1, which was identified by a research team at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was confirmed in an individual who hasn't recently traveled outside Illinois.

The Brazil variant is a distinct variation from those seen in Britain and South Africa and thought to be more transmissible than the coronavirus strain that was prevalent at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Read more here.

All 1st Dose Appointments Booked at Cook County Mass Vax Sites, Health Dept. Says

If you were hoping to sign up at one of Cook County's four mass vaccination locations, including the newly-opened Des Plaines site, it appears all first-dose appointments have been booked for now, county officials said.

As of Thursday afternoon, an alert on Cook County's vaccine registration website said "there are no more first dose appointments available at Cook County Community Vaccination locations."

The county urged patience and said vaccine supply is expected to "increase in the coming weeks."

It was not immediately clear when more appointments would become available, but the alert remained on the site as of Friday afternoon.

For a look at how you can sign up for a COVID vaccine appointment in Illinois, click here.

New Program Brings COVID Vaccine to Homebound Chicago Residents

As seniors seek out vaccine appointments at the United Center and other locations, a new program is bringing the vaccine to residents unable to leave home.

Paramedics with the Chicago Fire Department on Thursday administered its first vaccines in a citywide pilot program intended to inoculate homebound seniors and those with disabilities.

Residents can register for the program on the city’s website. The program is open to people who can’t leave home because doing so requires “considerable and taxing effort.”

Those eligible must be:

  • A senior or a person with a disability and require in-home assistance; or
  • Someone who uses equipment (like a ventilator, crutches, a walker, a wheelchair, etc.) or requires accessible transportation to leave home.

Paramedics will administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which doesn’t need ultra-cold storage and requires only one dose.

The program began as residents 65 and older began to register for vaccine appointments at the United Center, where vaccinations will begin next week.

Report: Cubs, White Sox Present Plan for 30% Opening Day Capacity

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this week the Cubs and White Sox "have come up with very good plans" for hosting fans at games this season. One new report offered a potential look at what that could look like.

ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported on "Waddle & Silvy" Thursday the Cubs and Sox recently put together a joint presentation for the state of Illinois and city of Chicago where each club proposed hosting fans at 30% capacity starting April 1.

That would put somewhere around 12,000 fans in both the Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field seats.

The two clubs are waiting to hear back on the proposal, which also includes socially-distanced seating, and mobile pay and the ability to pre-order concessions, according to Rogers.

The Cubs open the season at home on April 1. The White Sox home opener is a week later, on April 8.

Read more here.

Lightfoot Directs City Departments to Prepare for Potential Events, Concerts this Summer

Major Chicago events like Lollapalooza, the Taste of Chicago and other summer festivals and concerts in Chicago may return this summer so long as COVID-19 indicators continue to trend in the correct direction.

On Thursday, city officials said that while nothing is for certain, they’ve asked various departments to prepare for the possibility of summer events to return.

“While we are not formally planning nor permitting events at this time, our COVID-19 indicators continue to trend in the right direction and we are hopeful that some events that align with health guidelines may be possible later this year,” Christine Carrino of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s press office said in a statement to NBC 5.  

“As such, Mayor Lightfoot has directed City departments to prepare for the possibility of events this summer and ensure any resources that could be necessary are available.”

Last summer, events like Lollapalooza and the Taste of Chicago were canceled and for the last year concert halls and theatres have been shuttered or forced to operate at a limited capacity.

On Thursday, the Metro announced shows at GMan Tavern, located next to the iconic concert hall that are scheduled for later this month with limited capacity.

However, some, like JAM Productions owner Jerry Mickelson are already selling tickets online for his outdoor music venues in hopes they can soon reopen at full capacity this summer and with precautions in place.

Read more here.

Illinois Vaccinations

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.

 

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