The state of Illinois reported 1,741 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with 30 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
The state also updated its number of COVID cases involving variant strains of the virus, with more than 4,700 confirmed statewide.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois this weekend:
Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,741 New COVID Cases, 30 Deaths, 81K Vaccinations
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Illinois health officials reported 1,741 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths Sunday, along with nearly 81,000 vaccine doses administered.
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has now recorded 1,354,967 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, along with 22,223 fatalities related to the virus.
An additional 2,354 deaths are currently classified as “probable” COVID-19 fatalities, according to IDPH data.
In the last 24 hours, 65,930 tests have been performed statewide, bringing the state’s total number of tests to 23,347,731.
State officials say that 80,843 doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered Saturday, boosting the state’s rolling seven-day average to 73,622 doses per day. In all, 9,908,489 doses of the vaccine have been administered since it became publicly available in December.
Illinois Says More Than 4,700 COVID Cases in State Involve Variant Strains of Virus
More than 4,700 cases of coronavirus in the state of Illinois involve variant strains of the virus, including more than 3,000 cases of a variant that originated in the United Kingdom, health officials announced Sunday.
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 4,751 cases of coronavirus involve variant strains.
Of those, 3,170 have been identified as the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and has become one of the most prevalent strains of the virus in the United States.
That variant, according to IDPH officials, spreads more easily and rapidly than previous strains of the virus, and has been shown in some studies to be more deadly.
Family, Friends Remember Bolingbrook Teen Who Died Days After Testing Positive For COVID
Family and friends are remembering a Bolingbrook teen who died just two days after testing positive for coronavirus, holding a vigil and a balloon release Saturday evening in her honor.
Dykota Morgan, 15, was a freshman at Bolingbrook High School. Her family told NBC 5 she played several sports, was pretty healthy, and didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. They hope that by sharing her story people will take the virus seriously and get vaccinated.
Relying on each other for love and support, this week has been unimaginable for family and of Dykota.
“I’m so thankful that everyone was able to come out and just show their appreciate for the life that my daughter lived,” said Morgan’s father Rashad Bingham.
Bingham knows this Mother’s Day will be difficult for his wife Krystal Morgan, with their daughter’s death serving a tragic reminder of just how short life can be.
“She’s going to be missed by a lot of people,” said Morgan’s mother.
CTA Bus Transformed Into Mobile COVID Vaccination Clinic in Austin
As health officials in Chicago continue to work on expanding availability and accessibility to the coronavirus vaccine, a unique initiative was launched on Saturday, as a Chicago Transit Authority bus was transformed into a mobile vaccination site in the city’s Austin neighborhood.
The initiative will aim to bring coronavirus vaccine doses to all areas of the city, and Saturday’s event saw a large turnout, including resident Maurice Cardine, who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“It’s just one shot, and I don’t like needles,” he said with a laugh.
Cardine admits he was on the fence about getting the shot, but says with the mobile vaccine bus coming to his neighborhood, he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I had an appointment to go to Chicago and Cicero on Monday, but I just came on down here because my mom has been wearing me down, telling me and my brothers to get it done, so I went and got it done,” he said.
The vaccine bus is part of the city’s latest efforts to get more residents vaccinated, especially in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the virus.
“We started with one bus, and we’ve been increasing to more and more buses,” Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, said. “The focus right now is on ZIP codes where we’re not seeing as many people vaccinated.”
CDPH volunteers went door-to-door in the Austin neighborhood Saturday, speaking with residents, passing out information and telling people about the bus.
Illinois Set to Move into Bridge Phase Next Week. Take a Look at What's Changing
Currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan, Illinois is preparing to enter the Bridge Phase next week, which is a transitional period before the final Phase 5.
The Bridge Phase will begin May 14, allowing 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 guidelines and a full reopening.
So what changes between Phase 4 and the Bridge Phase? Here's a breakdown by category.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,729 New COVID Cases, 22 Deaths, 107K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 1,729 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 22 additional deaths in the last day, along with more than 107,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases Saturday bring the state total to 1,353,226 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,193, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The statewide positivity rate dropped to 2.9% of all tests returning positive results, and the positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days also dropped at 3.6%, according to IDPH data.
The state reported 107,688 vaccinations administered in the last day, according to the latest data. bringing the seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered to 68,455 doses.
Read more here.
COVID Vaccine for 12-15: When Will Pfizer Vaccine Be Available for Kids? Here's What We Know
When will the COVID vaccine be available for kids? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 potentially by next week.
What Happens if You Miss Your Second COVID Vaccine Dose?
More and more Americans have been vaccinated in recent weeks, but the number of those who've skipped their second dose has risen as well.
More than 5 million people, around 8% of those who received one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, didn't get their second dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But what if, for whatever reason, you missed your second shot?
According to the CDC, the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, which is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for Moderna's. However, the shot can be given up to 42 days after the first dose "when a delay is unavoidable," the agency added.
Read more here.
Bolingbrook Teen Dies 2 Days After Testing Positive for COVID, Family Says
A 15-year-old girl from suburban Bolingbrook died Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19, less than three days after she started showing symptoms, her parents say, sharing their daughter's story to warn other families not to let up on health and safety protocols for their children.
Dykota Morgan, a freshman at Bolingbrook High School, died at around 3 a.m. Tuesday at Central DuPage Hospital, her family and the DuPage County Coroner's Office said.
Dykota's parents said she didn't have any pre-existing conditions, was a healthy athlete who played multiple sports - basketball, softball, cross country and track - and went to the doctor for a check-up every year.
"Parents need to know that their children are not as safe as we think. It could happen to anyone. And I think that message needs to be said more. This could be anybody's child," her father said.
Pritzker Details When State Will Enter Bridge Phase of COVID Reopening Plan
Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of its COVID reopening plan next week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Pritzker detailed the move while giving a COVID-19 update alongside Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike and other health care providers.
"The number of people going into the hospital each day with COVID-19 has dropped, the total number of patients fighting COVID-19 in the hospital is beginning to level off, and our statewide ICU bed availability is above 20 percent," Pritzker said.
"As a result, on Friday, May 14th, the State of Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of our mitigation plan – one step closer to removing nearly all of the remaining mitigations," Pritzker said. "For restaurants and bars and retail and weddings and public gatherings, this means higher capacity limits and a very hopeful move toward fully reopening."
Illinois to Fully Reopen and Enter Phase 5 Next Month, Gov. Pritzker Announces
Illinois is expected to fully reopen and enter Phase 5 of its COVID reopening plan next month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Pritzker revealed plans to bring the state into the final reopening phase on June 11, "barring any significant reversals in our key COVID-19 statewide indicators."
Phase 5 would see all sectors of the economy fully reopened and no capacity limits, though Pritzker noted that the state will continue following mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Illinois Reopening Plan: What Restrictions Change in Phase 4, Bridge Phase and Phase 5
Currently in Phase 4, Illinois must first enter what's known as the Bridge Phase, a transitional period with looser restrictions and higher capacity limits before the final Phase 5. So what changes between Phase 4, the Bridge Phase and Phase 5? Here's a breakdown by category.
Illinois Doctors' Offices to Administer COVID Vaccine as Availability Expands, Pritzker Says
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an expansion of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, saying that residents will soon be able to set up vaccination appointments with their primary care physicians.
“The days of vaccine scarcity are over,” Pritzker said Thursday. “Today, we are in a new phase of our Vaccine Administration Plan: of meeting people where they are and making sure they can get their shots in their doctor’s office.”
According to Pritzker, more than 1,000 physicians’ offices have already signed up to be part of the program, and the state is rolling out resources for more offices to do the same.
At Least 11 Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19 at Lake County Jail, Officials Say
Officials in suburban Lake County are closely monitoring a coronavirus outbreak in one of the county jail’s residential pods, as at least 11 inmates have tested positive for the virus.
According to officials, an inmate first began to show symptoms of COVID-19 on April 30 in one of the jail’s residential pods. That inmate was moved to the jail’s medical pod. On the same day, a newly remanded inmate tested positive on intake at the jail, and was also moved to the pod, according to officials.
Over the next five days, all inmates in the residential pod were tested, and nine ultimately tested positive for the virus, according to officials. All inmates who tested positive are either non-symptomatic or are experiencing mild symptoms at this time.
With COVID Vaccinations for Ages 12-15 Expected, Chicago-Area Administrators Prepare
Pediatricians, children’s hospitals and county health departments are making plans as the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine nears emergency use approval for kids ages 12 to 15.
At Northwestern Children’s Practice in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, pediatricians have the Pfizer vaccine ready to go in the specialized freezer it requires. Parents can schedule the shots for kids in the approved age group once the FDA and the CDC give the okay.
Read more here.
Chicago Unveils List of New and Returning Summer Events as City Continues to Reopen
A long list of popular events will be returning to Chicago this summer as the city continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, bringing back beloved concerts from Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Printer's Row Lit Fest, Broadway in Chicago and more, in addition to launching a new city music festival.
The announcement marks the latest reopening update for the city and is being called "Open Culture," an initiative aimed at providing a "summer of cultural events."
Among the events will be a new city music festival called "Chicago In Tune," and the return of the historic Maxwell Street Market, the Grant Park Music Festival, the Taste of Chicago To-Go community meals, and more.
Most of the events will have limited capacity and require advance registration.
For a list of the latest returning summer events, click here.
Chicago Launches Concert Series Exclusively for Residents Fully Vaccinated Against COVID
Chicago is launching a new concert series exclusively for residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the city announced Tuesday.
The Protect Chicago Music Series will be a monthly series of events across the city as an "incentive and benefit" for Chicagoans who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said in a statement announcing the program.
Attendees must have received their second of two doses or their single-dose shot at least two weeks prior to be eligible to attend that event, according to the city. Events will be ticketed and attendees must bring their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card as proof of vaccination, as well as a matching photo ID, officials said.
The first event will be held on May 22 in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, with DJ Ron Trent and Duane Powell performing, officials said.
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.