The state of Illinois is on track to enter Phase 5 of its reopening plan - which would mark a full reopening with no capacity limits - in July, officials say.
Meanwhile, Chicago updated its emergency travel order Tuesday, putting neighboring Indiana on the list requiring travelers to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.
And a suburban Chicago family who lost their fully vaccinated father to COVID-19 say they hope his story can help others with certain pre-existing conditions.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
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COVID Vaccine for 12-to-15-Year-Olds: What We Know So Far Ahead of FDA Ruling
With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids between the ages 12 and 15 potentially by next week, what can parents expect and what's known so far about COVID vaccines and children?
Target Offers Coupon to Customers, Employees Who Get COVID Vaccinations at Stores
Target stores are rolling out a new program to help encourage customers to get the coronavirus vaccine, giving a coupon to customers who get their shots at in-store CVS pharmacies.
The announcement coincides with the chain’s announcement that all of its locations with CVS pharmacies will now offer coronavirus vaccine doses to associates and customers.
Guests can register for appointments through CVS’ website, according to Target officials.
When guests or employees get their vaccine doses, the company will provide a $5 coupon for use on in-store purchases of $5 or more, according to an email sent out this week.
NBC 5 Responds: FEMA Program Aims to Help Pay for Funerals of COVID-19 Victims
COVID-19 Pandemic Causing Flower Shortage Ahead of Mother's Day Weekend
The coronavirus pandemic has caused shortages in a wide variety of goods, and now flowers are becoming scarce as local shops prepare for one of the busiest times of the year: Mother’s Day weekend.
NBC 5 talked to the owner of The Flower Shop of Chicago on Taylor Street, where the shop was busy on Tuesday fulfilling orders for the big holiday.
“I think because of Mother’s Day the suppliers have geared up and they are ready and they’ve been preparing,” said owner Deadra James. “But a couple of months ago it was sometimes impossible to get certain flowers.”
James said the demand was low last year for flowers because of the pandemic, with weddings and large scale event cancellations causing growers to scale back on production.
“They didn’t plant as much, and so there was a shortage in flowers,” said James.
At one point, James said her shop was pressed to get sunflowers and certain colors of Stock and Snap Dragon flowers.
“The prices of certain flowers like carnations which are supposed to be an inexpensive flower has skyrocketed,” said James. “It’s nearly as expensive as a rose."
James said across the board, flower prices have gone up 15% to 20%. Carnations are up 50%, while Pom Poms are up between 30 and 40%.
Can You Get COVID After Being Fully Vaccinated? Here's What to Know
Yes, you can still get coronavirus even after you're fully vaccinated, but how often does it happen and who is most at risk for infection?
Chicago's top doctor said Tuesday that the rate of infection post-vaccination is low, with 0.06% of fully vaccinated people contracting the virus.
"We've had more than 700,000 Chicagoans that are have a completed vaccine series - two weeks post their second dose, or two weeks post their first dose if they got J&J," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "And at this point we've identified fewer than 500 breakthrough cases so that's, you know, 0.06% of those who had a completed series."
Read more here.
Chicago Auto Show Won't Require Proof of COVID Vaccination, Officials Say
The Chicago Auto Show is making a return to the city this summer and won't require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to officials.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that although people will not need proof of a COVID vaccination to attend the iconic show, registration will be required.
"Everyone will register after they buy a ticket, they'll register and then they will have to fill out a short medical questionnaire," Pritzker said.
The questionnaire will ensure that everyone attending is "healthy," according to the governor, but he did not provide details on what questions will be asked. Pritzker noted that one question will ask whether an individual as been vaccinated or not, but there won't be a requirement.
New Vaccination Site at Illinois Shooting Complex to Offer 100 Free Target Rounds to Vaccine Recipients
A new vaccination site at a southern Illinois shooting complex will offer COVID-19 vaccine recipients 100 free target rounds, officials announced Tuesday.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, anyone who receives the COVID vaccine at the Worldwide Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta will also receive 100 free targets of trap, skeet or sporting clays.
“If you come and get vaccinated at the World Shooting Recreational Complex vax site – which is already completely free – you’ll get 100 FREE targets of trap, skeet, or sporting clays, to use any time before the end of October,”Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “These vaccines are incredibly effective and protective for the person who gets them, but just as important, they make the whole community safer."
Read more here.
Chicago Travel Order Update: 18 States, Including Indiana, Now on List Requiring Quarantine or Negative COVID Test
Chicago updated its emergency travel order Tuesday, detailing where states currently stand on the city's list requiring travelers to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 prior to their arrival in the city.
The "orange tier," which requires a quarantine or pre-arrival negative test before coming to Chicago, now lists 18 states, including neighboring Indiana, as well as Puerto Rico. The lesser yellow tier now includes 31 states as well as the District of Columbia. Which tier states are in depends on case rate adjusted for population.
Here's a look at which states are in either tier, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health:
- 31 yellow states and District of Columbia: Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, Wisconsin, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Dakota, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Alaska, Connecticut, District of Columbia, and Iowa
- 18 orange states and Puerto Rico: New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Maine, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington
Illinois Reopening Plan: State on Track to Enter Phase 5 in July, Officials Say
The state of Illinois is on track to enter Phase 5 of its reopening plan - which would mark a full reopening with no capacity limits - in July, officials announced Tuesday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared the timeline in a joint statement Tuesday announcing the return of the Chicago Auto Show for the first time in more than a year.
Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan and must first enter what's known as the Bridge Phase before a full reopening in the final Phase 5, which would see all sectors of the economy fully reopened and no capacity limits, among other changes.
As "metrics continue to stabilize and decline, the state could soon move into the 'Bridge Phase' of the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan," Lightfoot and Pritzker's offices said in a joint statement. "Following a 28-day period of continued stability or decline in key COVID-19 metrics, the state would then move into Phase 5, with all capacity limits lifted. The State is on track to be in Phase 5 in July."
Chicago Auto Show Returning to McCormick Place in July
The Chicago Auto Show is returning to the city this summer for the first time in more than a year, officials have announced.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot together announced the show's return Tuesday, noting it will be the first large convention to take place in Chicago since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Chicago Auto Show will take place from July 15 through July 19 this year, officials said, shorter than the usual nine-day run that takes place in the winter. It will also be held both indoors and outdoors for the first time since it started in Chicago in 1901, officials said.
After Fully-Vaccinated Father Dies of COVID-19, Family Hopes Story Raises Awareness
A suburban Chicago family who lost their fully vaccinated father to COVID-19 said they hope his story can help others with certain pre-existing conditions and immune deficiencies as they say his unexpected passing left them with a major "what if."
Alan Sporn, owner and president of Spornette International and an outgoing father of four who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2019, had been taking added precautions throughout the coronavirus pandemic, despite not yet requiring treatment for his cancer.
But the 75-year-old hairbrush salesman was eager to get vaccinated as travel was his career and his life. He received his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine in January and his second in early February, his family said.
Illinois COVID Vaccinations Dropped More Than 40% in Recent Weeks, Data Shows
While more than 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Illinois, data shows the average of daily administered doses has declined in recent weeks, presenting a new challenge for state health officials.
Since vaccinations began in mid-December, the seven-day average has increased overall despite a few notable dips, including ones in late February and March, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.
However, since April 12, when the rolling average was reported to be 132,979 doses, the number has steadily declined. As of May 2, the most recent day for which data is available, the average was said to be 78,440, which amounts to a 41% decline since April 12.
Illinois Could Move to Bridge Phase in Near Future as COVID Metrics Improve, Pritzker Says
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that Illinois could move into the new Bridge Phase of its reopening plan in the near future.
“If you look at all the hospital admissions data, it looks like we’re in decent shape and moving toward the Bridge Phase,” Pritzker said during a news conference. “I believe that it may be next week.”
But a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health said Monday that it is “difficult to estimate” when the state will move forward to the Bridge Phase, and that there are still several metrics that officials are watching.
The Bridge Phase, unveiled in March, would allow for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations during a transitional period between the current Phase 4 guidelines and a full reopening in Phase 5.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,049 New COVID Cases, 28 Deaths, 16K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 2,049 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths in the last day, along with nearly 17,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases Monday bring the state total to 1,341,777 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,047, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The statewide positivity rate remained at 3.4% of all tests returning positive results, and the positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days remained at 4%, according to IDPH data.
Walgreens, CVS Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of Vaccine Doses: Report
National pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS reportedly account for the majority of wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses, government data obtained by Kaiser Health News shows.
NBC News reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March. The data reportedly showed CVS was responsible for nearly half of those wasted doses, and Walgreens was responsible for 21%.
According to the report, the CDC data suggested the companies have wasted more doses than states, U.S. territories and federal agencies combined. The vaccine wasted most was reportedly Pfizer's vaccine, which requires storage at ultracold temperatures.
Changes to United Center COVID Vaccinations Start Monday
Major changes to the United Center's COVID-19 vaccination site began Monday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady announced the changes last week, saying walk-in first-dose Pfizer vaccinations would be coming to an end.
From May 4 through May 10, the vaccination site will strictly offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for walk-in appointments, Arwady said. After this week, the center will no longer offer first doses of the two-shot vaccines.
Illinois Won't Require COVID-19 ‘Vaccine Passports,' Pritzker Says
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday the state won't create a program for residents to prove they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pritzker said, however, Illinois may "look for some way to have an electronic measure available" to residents who want a system to show vaccination status.
"That's just something, again, if the users desire, you know, if they want to use something like that," the governor explained. "We want to make that available, but otherwise, it's not something that we would require."
Fully Vaccinated? Here's Where to Score a Deal in the Chicago Area
Are you fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Don't miss the latest deals offered across the Chicago area, as various businesses have already begun serving up bargains for vaccinated individuals.
Here's where to find COVID vaccination deals nearby.
Hosting a Wedding, Graduation Party or Private Event in the Chicago Area? Here's What You Need to Know
Graduation and wedding seasons are fast approaching and this year's events will be unlike any other.
While most events were canceled or dramatically scaled down last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, more widely available vaccines and early signs of improvements in COVID metrics have enabled some jurisdictions to loosen restrictions on in-person gatherings.
To learn more on capacity limits and other new guidelines, click here.
Chicago Reopening Plan: City Loosens Phase 4 Restrictions as COVID Metrics Improve
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced that the city will loosen its current COVID-19 restrictions as the city has both improved its metrics to reopen and increased vaccinations.
The new changes to the current Phase 4 guidelines include:
- Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people.
- Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues, including the United Center, can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at the lesser of 25% or 250 people.
- Places of worship: Large indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Operate at 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Flea and farmers markets: Operate at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.
Cook County to ‘Ease' Phase 4 Mitigations as COVID Cases Decline, Vaccinations Increase
The Cook County Department of Public Health on Thursday issued revised COVID-19 Phase 4 reopening guidance that eases some mitigations while taking "a cautious approach to reopening suburban Cook County."
The guidance, issued the same day as the city of Chicago released its reopening plan, becomes effective on Friday, April 30.
The new changes to the current Phase 4 guidelines include:
- Increased indoor restaurant capacity to 50 percent capacity or 100 individuals, whichever is smaller.
- Outdoor social events, such as weddings, proms and potlucks increase to lesser of 50% capacity or 100 people.
- Fully vaccinated people will be exempt from the capacity count for private social events, such as weddings.
- Higher capacity for indoor and outdoor seated spectator events, theater and performing arts in large venues (ticketed and seated) with a capacity of 200 or more to 25 percent. Indoor events with capacity less than 200 stay at 50 percent capacity with no more than 50 people.
- Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events increase to 15 people per 1,000 square feet.
Bulls, Blackhawks to Begin Hosting Limited Fans at United Center
Beginning May 7, the Bulls and Blackhawks will begin hosting a limited capacity of fans for games at the United Center, the teams announced Thursday morning.
Each team will host spectators at "approximately 25 percent capacity" with a mandatory mask policy, distanced seating and contactless concessions. Guests will also be required to complete a health screening in the CLEAR app before arrival.