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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Pritzker Discusses Vaccinations, Cook County Warning as Cases Rise

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered a COVID vaccine update from a suburban vaccination site on Thursday.

Meanwhile, as COVID metrics continue to rise in Cook County, health officials are warning about a potential tightening of restrictions.

And a new "double mutation" variant of the coronavirus that was discovered in California and is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States could already be in Illinois, officials said Wednesday.

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

Gov. Pritzker Gives COVID Vaccine Update, Visits Vaccination Site

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered a COVID vaccine update from a suburban vaccination site on Thursday.

Pritzker joined local officials at 10 a.m. to visit the Forest Park vaccination site and deliver the update.

He reiterated that the state - outside Chicago - will expand eligibility to anyone over 16 on Monday in line with his previous announcement. He also said 150,000 new first-dose appointments for next week would open in the coming days for state-supported mass vaccination sites and Chicago-area pharmacies.

"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. He added that the state is on track to break a single-day vaccination record on Thursday.

‘Double Mutation' Variant May Be in Illinois Already, But We'll Know for Sure Soon, Official Says

A new "double mutation" variant of the coronavirus that was discovered in California and is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States could already be in Illinois, Cook County health officials said Wednesday.

"Is it circulating here? Probably," Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said during a new conference about rising coronavirus metrics, calling news of the new variant "worrisome."

"It might be here, but we don't know yet," she added. "I mean we're just beginning to expand- the state and CDC are beginning to expand, they're testing for variants, and so we'll know soon whether we have it circulating in Illinois."

Rubin said an official determination could arrive "in the coming days."

Read more here.

Cook County Could be Near a ‘Tipping Point' Requiring New COVID Mitigations: Officials

As COVID metrics continue to rise in Cook County, health officials are warning about a potential tightening of restrictions.

Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said that she "is extremely concerned with the rise in new cases and increase in the positivity rate of COVID-19 in suburban Cook, and throughout the state of Illinois."

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County would have to experience a positivity rate over 8% and staffed intensive care unit bed availability below 20% for three consecutive days to move back to Tier 1 mitigations.

Cook County's seven-day rolling test positivity rate is sitting at 5.2%, according to the latest IDPH date, which has been steadily increasing since the end of March. As of Tuesday night, the county's ICU bed availability was at 22%, falling close to the state's threshold over the past week.

"We are considering tightening up the required mitigations again if the trend continues, but we're not taking such actions now, not yet," Rubin said.

Read more here.

These 7 Cook County Suburbs Have Seen COVID Cases Rise More Than 200% in 2 Weeks

Cook County health officials warned Wednesday that COVID metrics in suburban communities are going in the wrong direction, but in seven particular communities, the numbers are rising at alarming rates.

According to officials, seven suburbs saw their number of COVID cases rise more than 200% and as much as 520% in the last two weeks.

County data as of Monday showed those suburbs include:

  • Glencoe (250%)
  • Norridge (204%)
  • Riverside (312%)
  • Robbins (200%)
  • Harvey (211%)
  • Lynnwood (520%)
  • Berkeley (400%)

Read more here.

‘We're Getting Cocky:' Will County Officials Issue Warning Amid COVID Outbreak Tied to Wedding

Health officials in suburban Will County are once again warning residents to remain vigilant after a wedding resulted in a COVID outbreak involving at least 20 confirmed and probable cases.

Steve Brandy, public information officer with the Will County Health Department, says that a spring surge in cases has officials worried and urging the public to take the ongoing threat of the COVID pandemic seriously.

“I had someone call me about a rodeo event last weekend. There is a lot going on and we are getting careless,” he said.

Brandy says that contact tracers are continuing to discover new cases daily from a series of events in mid-March, including several weddings.

“There was an event hosted in Joliet, and then a banquet hall in DuPage County and a place of worship in Cook County,” he said.

According to WCHD, the events surrounding the wedding took place between March 10 and 13, and included a series of events that were held indoors with approximately 120 people in attendance.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 3,790 New COVID Cases, 28 Deaths, 139K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois reported 3,790 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, with 28 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Wednesday's new cases brought the state to 1,265,457 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.

Wednesday's 28 additional deaths brought the state to 21,423 confirmed COVID fatalities during the pandemic.

The statewide positivity rate rose Wednesday, with 4.1% of all tests returning positive results. The positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days also rose to 4.6%, according to IDPH data.

As of Wednesday, the state has administered nearly 6.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, while receiving 8,423,845 doses.

Read more here.

Sore Throat? Sneezing? Runny Nose? How to Know if It's COVID or Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are rising as spring weather returns to the Chicago area, but as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip both the city and Illinois, how can you tell if your symptoms are pollen in the air, a cold or something more?

Chicago health officials say it can be difficult to tell and getting tested for coronavirus is one way to find out.

Read more here.

Chicago COVID Vaccine Eligibility Will Open to All Adults by Biden's April 19 Deadline

Chicago will open COVID vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older by President Joe Biden's deadline on April 19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday.

"We will meet that deadline," Lightfoot said at a news conference following Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to a mass vaccination site in Chicago.

"We need more vaccine," Lightfoot continued, but added that she was "confident" the city could open eligibility by April 19.

Biden announced the new deadline for states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine on Tuesday, moving up his previously targeted date of May 1 by just under two weeks.The new deadline came as most states, including Illinois, have already announced plans to open eligibility ahead of the original May 1 deadline.

Read more here.

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.

More Than 80 Illinois Counties Have Opened COVID Vaccine Eligibility to All Residents 16 and Older

More than 80 counties in Illinois have expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to all state residents 16 years and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Citing a survey of local health departments in the state, IDPH released a list of counties that have already expanded eligibility one week before the state is expected to do the same. There are 102 counties total in the state.

Here's a full list

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.

 

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.

Can You Spread COVID After Receiving Vaccine?

Experts have made clear that getting the COVID vaccine offers plenty of protection from coronavirus, but can it prevent you from spreading it to others?

Yes, you can, but the answer is also a bit more complicated.

Read more here.

Can You Take Tylenol, Ibuprofen With the COVID Vaccine?

Whether preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine or enduring side effects, officials provided guidance on taking various over-the-counter medications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated. 

The CDC does not recommend, however, that people take such over-the-counter medications or antihistamines to prevent side effects prior to receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

Read more here.

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