coronavirus illinois

Watch Live: Officials Give COVID-19 Update After Announcing United Center as Vaccine Site

Note: The news conference can be watched live in the video player above beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT.

A coalition of Illinois, Chicago, Cook County and federal officials will deliver a joint COVID-19 update Friday after announcing that the United Center would be turned into a mass vaccination site.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region 5 Administrator Kevin Sligh will all take part in the news conference at 11:30 a.m. at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, according to Pritzker and Lightfoot's public schedules.

The update comes immediately after city, state and federal officials announced that the United Center would be turned into a mass vaccination site opening March 10.

Officials said the the United Center site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks, and that information about where and how to make appointments would be made available in coming days. Set-up outside the arena was underway Friday.

The United Center will be able to administer 6,000 shots per day at full capacity, officials said, but noted that demand was "anticipated to be high." Those doses will be provided directly from the federal government and not diverted from the supply sent to Chicago or Illinois.

Illinois officials say all residents who are currently eligible to be vaccinated under the current Phase 1B Plus of the state's vaccine rollout plan will be able to get vaccinated there.

The site will be appointment Pritzker's office said in a statement Friday, and seniors will have first access to appointments before the site opens.

If any appointments are still available after seniors have had their exclusive registration period, any remaining slots will be open to all Illinoisans eligible under the state's guidelines, Pritzker's office said.

Once the site opens, registration will be open for all Illinois residents eligible under the state's Phase 1B guidelines.

The announcement came one day after Illinois expanded Phase 1B of its vaccination plan, opening up eligibility to include people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities.

While the state expanded its Phase 1B, many counties, health departments and hospital systems - including Chicago and Cook County - said they would not join the rest of Illinois in increasing eligibility, citing low vaccine supply for those who already qualify.

Previously under the earlier iteration Phase 1B, residents age 65 and over as well as essential workers qualify to receive the vaccine.

While frustration has been evident - both among residents seeking their shots as well as many government and health officials - over low vaccine supply, the shipments have increased in recent days after being stymied by winter weather last week.

On Thursday, Illinois reported a single-day high of vaccinations across the state, with more than 130,000 doses administered in the previous 24 hours. Nearly 2.7 million doses of the two available vaccines have been delivered to providers in Illinois, with another 445,200 doses allocated to the federal government's program for long-term care facilities. Of those, more than 2.4 million doses have been administered statewide.

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