coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: State Expands Phase 1B Vaccine Eligibility

Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state

Illinois' Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations expanded Thursday as the state opened up eligibility to a much larger group of residents.

Meanwhile, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is seeking participants for clinical trials designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of coronavirus vaccines in children under the age of 12.

Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state:

United Center Could Become Mass Vaccination Center as Soon as March: Report

The United Center could become a mass vaccination center as soon as next month, offering COVID-19 vaccine doses to up to 7,000 people per day, according to a recent report.

The news is expected to be announced Friday by both the White House and Gov. J.B . Pritzker, according to Crain's Chicago Business, which cited sources close to the matter for information that the United Center will focus on minority groups disproportionately affected by the virus.

The governor's office did not immediately confirm the announcement, but applauded the Biden Administration for "efforts to launch high capacity vaccination sites across the country are essential to equity,"

"[Gov. Pritzker] appreciates the robust collaboration with the President and his team," the governor's office said in a statement. "Our partners at Cook County and in the City of Chicago are also essential to our collective success, especially as we work together to make sure we’re ready to use the increasing supply of vaccine in the most equitable way possible."

Chicago health officials had previously said they were looking into creating mass vaccination sites at several sports stadiums, but those venues wouldn't be used until the city gets more doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Read more here.

As Vaccinations Increase in Illinois, When Could the State Reach Phase 5 of Reopening?

Phase 5 of Illinois' reopening plan was set to begin once a vaccine or highly effective treatment became widely available.

With vaccinations for coronavirus in Illinois increasing, and eligibility expanding, that day is inching closer, but according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker we're not there yet.

"You know, I've said from early on that what we need is an effective vaccine that we can widely distribute and a very effective or a very effective treatment that we could widely distribute and we're getting there," Pritzker said Wednesday. "I mean... about one in seven Illinoisans already has their first dose in their arms. We need to get closer to herd immunity for everybody to feel, you know, that we're beyond phase four and for us to actually be able to reopen everything entirely."

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,884 New Cases, 32 Additional Deaths, Over 130K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois are reporting 1,884 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with 32 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Thursday's new cases bring the state to 1,181,226 cases of the virus since the pandemic began last year. A total of 20,406 deaths have been reported as a result of the virus.

The seven-day positivity rate dropped Thursday, with 2.5% of all tests coming back with positive results, according to IDPH. The positivity rate on individuals tested dropped slightly to 2.7%.

Over the last 24 hours, state laboratories received 91,292 test specimens, with 17,895,829 tests performed during the pandemic in all.

Hospitalizations in the state continue to drop, with 1,463 patients currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of those patients, 334 are currently in intensive care units, while 168 are on ventilators.

According to IDPH data, a total of 130,021 doses of the vaccine were administered in Illinois on Wednesday, with the seven-day rolling average now standing at 66,274 doses per day.

A total of 2,693,345 vaccine doses have been delivered to providers in Illinois, along with 445,200 doses delivered to pharmacies as part of a federal program to inoculate staff and residents at long-term care facilities. Of those 3.1 million doses, 2,440,950 vaccines had been administered in Illinois as of midnight, including 295,909 for long-term care facilities.

When Might Phase 1C of COVID Vaccinations Begin in Illinois? Here's What Pritzker Said

As Illinois enters an expanded Phase 1B, opening up doses to thousands more residents, when might the state move ahead even further, into Phase 1C?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker addressed that question Wednesday saying he's "anxious" get there but doesn't have a timeline.

"I don't want to speculate. It's very hard to say exactly because I don't have a projection out far enough to really know, but I'm anxious, I think like we all are, to get to phase 1C and beyond," Pritzker said during a press conference. "We want to get everybody vaccinated as soon as possible but we're trying to get to all of the most vulnerable populations first."

Though Illinois has yet to announce planned dates for future vaccine phases, Chicago officials have said Phase 1C could come at the end of March and Phase 2, which includes all residents over the age of 16, could begin May 31.

"It may be sooner than expected, but that timeline that we laid out actually continues to look pretty consistent with our numbers," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday. "If you recall, we really said the end of March, March 29, was where we were guessing we might be at a point to be able to move ahead into 1C and then, the end of May is when we might be able to move ahead to Phase 2 and I haven't seen anything that really suggests major, major differences from that. I think if we do get a lot more vaccine in March, maybe more than we were expecting, you know, is it possible we could open up you know providers to get start doing existing patients who are, you know, have underlying conditions? It's possible, but I really we've got to make sure that these highest risk folks are first getting the access to vaccination."

Read more here.

Phase 1B COVID Vaccinations Expand in Illinois: Here's What You Need to Know

Illinois' Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations expanded Thursday as the state opened up eligibility to a much larger group of residents.

Known as Phase 1B Plus, the current phase of Illinois' COVID vaccine rollout now includes people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. But that won't be the case everywhere.

Here's what we know so far about the expanded Phase 1B, including who is eligible, which locations are expanding and which are not, if you need proof and more.

Lurie Children's Hospital Seeks Participants for COVID Vaccine Trials

Physicians at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are seeking participants for clinical trials designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of coronavirus vaccines in children under the age of 12.

This week, the hospital published a survey to its website seeking more information from the parents of potential participants in the study, which is expected to take place later this year.

According to the hospital’s website, not all individuals who fill out the survey, which can be found here, will be selected to participate in the trial. Instead, the survey will be used to collect a list of potential participants, which will then be evaluated by the researchers as they construct the group of individuals that will take part in the study.

The trials for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to start enrollment within 3-to-6 weeks, according to hospital officials. The studies are expected to take 3-to-4 months to complete, and will require several months for researchers to evaluate and pore over data before it can be reviewed by the FDA.

After that, it is expected that vaccines could be approved for children by the fall or winter, according to officials.

Read more here.

CDC: More Than 50 Were Sickened in COVID Outbreak at Chicago Gym Last Summer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report on a coronavirus outbreak that sickened more than 50 individuals who took in-person classes at a Chicago gym last summer.

According to the report, the Chicago Department of Public Health was notified of a potential COVID-19 outbreak at the facility on Sept. 8. Of 81 individuals who attended in-person classes at the gym between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1, 55 individuals ultimately tested positive for the virus, according to the CDC report.

Among that group of 55 positive COVID results, 24 reported that they had suffered serious symptoms of the virus. Just two of the individuals were hospitalized because of the virus, with one person reporting that they had to spend a total of eight days in an area hospital because of COVID symptoms.

No deaths were reported during the outbreak.

Of those individuals, 78% participated in multiple classes at the gym while potentially infectious. Of that group, 22 individuals attended classes on or after dates where they had begun to experience symptoms of coronavirus.

The CDC says that they interviewed a total of 58 individuals who had participated in the classes during the outbreak. Of those individuals, 44 reported that masks were worn infrequently in the gym, including 32 of the individuals who later tested positive for the virus.

Infrequent mask use was reported more commonly among those individuals who tested positive for COVID than among those who did not.

Read more here.

Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson: Is One Vaccine Better Than the Others?

With a third coronavirus vaccine nearing approval in the U.S., what is the difference between the vaccines and should you pick one over the other?

According to medical experts, two vaccines currently available in the U.S., as well as one from Johnson & Johnson, which is currently awaiting emergency use authorization, each offer some level of protection.

Already, Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines have been circulating across the U.S., both requiring two shots for full protection.

But according to an analysis by U.S. regulators released Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine also offers strong protection against severe COVID-19, setting the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration’s scientists confirmed that overall the vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and about 85% effective against the most serious illness. The agency also said J&J's shot — one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two — is safe to use. But that’s just one step in the FDA’s evaluation of a third vaccine option for the U.S.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now being used in the U.S. and numerous other countries must be kept frozen, while the J&J shot can last three months in the refrigerator, making it easier to handle. AstraZeneca's vaccine, widely used in Europe, Britain and Israel, is made similarly and also requires refrigeration but takes two doses.

J&J tested its single-dose option in 44,000 adults in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. Different mutated versions of the virus are circulating in different countries, and the FDA analysis cautioned that it's not clear how well the vaccine works against each variant. But J&J previously announced the vaccine worked better in the U.S. -- 72% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19, compared with 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.

Read more here.

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