coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Vaccine Shipments Cut in Half, 30% of Eligible CPS Students to Return

Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that state and local health officials are preparing for smaller shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in coming weeks, as federal officials have informed states that the original shipments of the treatment will be roughly cut in half.

Meanwhile, roughly 30% of eligible Chicago Public Schools students plan to return to in-person classes when the nation's third-largest school district begins reopening next month, officials said Wednesday.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Dec. 17):

Chicago Fire Department Paramedic Dies of COVID-19

A third member of the Chicago Fire Department has died from COVID-19.

Paramedic Robert Truevillian, who joined the department in 2000, died from complications of the virus, Chicago fire officials said Thursday in a statement posted to Twitter.

Truevillian was assigned to ambulance 71, which operates out of the firehouse at 10458 S. Hoxie Ave. in South Deering, officials said.

He’s the third active CFD member to die from complications of the coronavirus.

Illinois Reports 8,828 New Coronavirus Cases, 181 Additional Deaths Thursday

Illinois health officials on Thursday reported 8,828 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, as well as 181 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Thursday's figures bring the total number cases of the virus to 879,428 statewide and lifted the death toll to 14,835 since the pandemic began.

In the last 24 hours, state officials say 92,015 test specimens have been turned in to state laboratories, bringing the statewide total to 12,147,3093 during the pandemic.

The rolling seven-day positivity rate on all tests conducted during that span is currently at 8.4%, while the positivity rate for residents tested for the virus is at 10%, officials say.

Hospitalizations related to the virus declined again to 4,751, with 1,056 of those patients occupying ICU beds and 575 on ventilators, according to health officials.

Chicago Bears Reveal New Kind of Team ‘Photo' for 2020

The Chicago Bears got a little creative when it came to taking their annual team photo in the midst of a global pandemic.

The team shared their official 2020 team "photo" Thursday with one major change - none of the players were actually photographed in it.

Instead, they posted an illustration of what their team photo would have looked like, if players and staff could gather together in close proximity for several minutes unmasked.

See it here.

Coronavirus Vaccine and Allergic Reactions: What We Know So Far

Questions surrounding the coronavirus vaccine and allergic reactions heightened this week after a health care worker in Alaska developed a severe reaction requiring hospitalization shortly after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, despite having no history of allergies.

Here's what we know so far about the coronavirus vaccine and potential allergic reactions.

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Opens Registration For Virtual 2021 Race

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle opened registration Thursday for a virtual race in 2021 to kick off running season in Chicago, race organizers announced.

“For more than 40 years, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle has brought the running community together for a celebration of health and movement,” said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “While we wish we could be together in person, we’re excited for a new take on one of the city’s most celebrated running traditions.”

Race organizers developed an eight-week Training Challenge to keep runners "motivated and moving on their journey to the virtual race weekend experience," set to take place Friday, March 19, through Sunday, March 21.

Some Chicago-Area Hospitals Expecting Coronavirus Vaccine Shipments Thursday

Some hospitals across the Chicago area are expecting to receive their shipments of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, eager to begin inoculating health care workers as the governor says federal officials have cut shipments in half.

Edward Hospital in Naperville and Edward-Elmhurst Health were notified Tuesday that both locations would receive allotments of 1,950 doses of the vaccine apiece on Thursday. Those shipments arrived at around 6 a.m., while vaccinations are slated to begin at Edward-Elmhurst Health at 2:30 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Loyola University Medical Center in suburban Maywood said Wednesday that the hospital system was told it would not receive its doses of the vaccine until as early as Thursday.

Read more here.

Gov. Pritzker to Hold Daily Update at New Time Thursday

UPDATE: The governor's press conference on Dec. 17 will instead be held at 1:15 p.m. Watch live in the player above or here.

30% of Eligible Chicago Students to Attend In-Person Class

Roughly 30% of eligible Chicago Public Schools students plan to return to in-person classes when the nation's third-largest school district begins reopening next month, officials said Wednesday.

CPS officials announced last month that the district would resume in-person learning in phases in early 2021 because remote learning wasn't serving many students in the largely Black and Latino district where most students are low income. CPS began remote learning in March due to COVID-19.

Schools CEO Janice Jackson said about 75,000 of the roughly 240,000 eligible students in pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and in special education planned to return, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. A date for high school students hasn’t been set.

“When we talk about offering more options for parents, we’re serving a large swath of our families who believe this is the best choice for their students,” Jackson said. “And we believe we have a moral obligation to do so.”

The Chicago Teachers Unions has fought in-person learning, questioning the district's safety protocols.

Long-Term Care Facilities Hope to Receive First COVID Vaccines by Month's End

Some medical workers in the state of Illinois are already getting their coronavirus vaccines, and by the end of the month, health officials are hoping that long-term care facility residents and workers will be able to get theirs as well.

During a coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike laid out some of the details of the program, which aims to get coronavirus vaccine shots to long-term care facilities beginning the week of Dec. 28.

According to Ezike, the shots will be administered by employees from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies as part of a partnership with the federal government, a program that is filling workers at the homes with optimism and happiness.

“It absolutely will put my mind at ease,” Chicago nursing home employee Rosalind Reggans said. “Given my age and the fact that I’m a cancer survivor of three years, it would totally put my mind at ease.”

Vaccines will not be mandatory in many facilities, but they are strongly encouraged as a tool to help residents resume social visits with family and friends.

According to officials at Burgess Square Healthcare in suburban Westmont, residents who have been vaccinated can go outside to meet family members and friends, so long as face coverings are worn.

Eventually, the hope is that enough state residents will be vaccinated to achieve so-called “herd immunity,” allowing for mask mandates, social distancing protocols and other mitigation measures to be rolled back and ultimately eliminated.

IHA Chief Says Vaccine Delivery ‘on Track' to Illinois County Health Departments

Several counties reported receiving their first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, with the head of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association saying that the rollout of the vaccine is currently “on track” despite some concerns about delays.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, IHA President and CEO AJ Wilhelmi said that the organizations is working closely with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure the safe and timely rollout of the doses of the vaccine that have arrived in the state so far.

“That process is on track,” Wilhelmi said in a statement. “Hospitals and health care workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for 10 months and are doing their part to execute on the vaccination plan. The extensive and logistically challenging vaccination process is rolling out now, as scheduled, and thousands of vaccines will be administered before the end of the week, as planned.”

In separate press releases Wednesday, health officials in Kane and DuPage counties announced that they had received their first doses of the vaccine, with the plan to roll the treatment out to health care centers and hospitals in the coming days.

Those departments are part of a complex delivery process, necessitated by the low temperatures at which the Pfizer vaccine must be stored.

After the vaccine is shipped, it must be repackaged and then sent to various health care organizations around the state, according to officials. Wilhelmi says that there is a five-day window before the vaccine could potentially spoil, and hospitals need approximately 48 hours of preparation to make sure that the vaccines can be administered in a timely manner after receipt.

Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine to Illinois Expected to be Cut in Half by Feds: Pritzker

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that state and local health officials are preparing for smaller shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in coming weeks, as federal officials have informed states that the original shipments of the treatment will be roughly cut in half.

Originally, an estimated 8.8 million coronavirus vaccine doses were set to be delivered to cities and states across the U.S., but that estimate has been cut in half for each of the next two weeks, Pritzker said.

“Per the direction of Operation Warp Speed’s General Perna, that estimate was tightened significantly down to 4.3 million doses shipped nationally next week. The following week, originally projected for another 8.8 million, is also now also scheduled to be 4.3 million,” Pritzker said.

As a result, the governor says that the move to cut the shipments in half will likely mean that the state and the city of Chicago will also see their own shipments halved as they begin the process of inoculating health care workers.  

 Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, say that the shipments of the vaccine will continue, but cautioned that projections on how much of the vaccine that the state can anticipate receiving will continue to fluctuate based on the latest information from the federal government.

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