U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a blunt holiday warning after visiting a Chicago hospital Tuesday, which he said had reached capacity in its intensive care unit due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Even if you don't personally feel at risk from COVID, your actions still can have an impact on you, your family and your community in other ways that you might not think of," he said after a visit to Saint Anthony's Hospital. "That full ICU, it's full because there are COVID patients pushing it over the top. But that means if you have a heart attack, there might not be room in the end. It means if you get in a car wreck on icy road, they may not have a bed for you. It means that if your sister or your wife goes into labor, there may not be space in the hospital for you. So it is critical that we continue this holiday season to do the things that are working."
Adams said that while Illinois is "fortunately moving in the right direction... the numbers still aren't where we need them to be." He said while the start of vaccines is the beginning of the end, residents must "remain vigilant."
"Even if you weren't doing the safest thing that we recommend and keeping it within your household, things such as quarantining yourself now - because every person you interact with now is a person whose bubble has now infiltrated your bubble and potential for you to take virus home to someone this Christmas - things like making sure you've got plenty of ventilation in your home environment, and making sure you've got plenty of hand sanitizer and that people are practicing good hand hygiene," Adams said. "Again, we want you to be as safe as possible. But if you can't keep it within your household, we still want you to think about how you can have a safer holiday season. I want you to have hope because a lot of people are fatigued. A lot of people are asking when this is going to end and I want you to know that I'm actually incredibly optimistic based on these two vaccines now being available, that that we do have a finish line in sight."
So far, Illinois has vaccinated more than 63,000 frontline workers, not including those who have been vaccinated in Chicago.
The state plans to receive its first shipments of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine as well as additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week, state officials said Monday.
Unlike the first doses of Pfizer's vaccine, which were sent to Illinois' Strategic National Stockpile and then distributed to hospitals, the doses expected in the coming days will be directly shipped to hospitals.
Approximately 60,450 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are slated to be delivered Tuesday and Wednesday, the governor's office stated. A large portion of the aforementioned doses will be allocated to long-term care facilities, and will be administered by Walgreens and CVS through a federal partnership.
Those vaccinations will begin the week of Dec. 28, state officials said.
The remaning 20,000 doses will be directly shipped to hospitals with ultra-cold storage, which is necessary for the Pfizer vaccine, and will be given to health care workers.
Approximately 174,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine are expected to be delivered to hospitals on a rolling basis starting Wednesday and Thursday.