City opening mass vaccination sites at Wrigley conference center, Chicago State

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago will open two new mass vaccination sites on Monday — one at Chicago State University, the other at a conference center adjacent to Wrigley Field.

The decision to open two more mass vaccination sites in addition to the one already operating in a United Center parking lot comes just one day after the city expanded vaccine eligibility to include all essential workers and adults with underlying medical conditions, excluding smokers.

The Wrigley Field site will be at the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way, the open-air plaza adjacent to the stadium. The Cubs play their home opener on Thursday.

It will be operated by Advocate Aurora Health and have the capacity to administer roughly 2,000 daily doses of the coronavirus vaccine, by appointment only. Appointments will be posted on later this week with additional appointments added each day.

Chicagoans also will be able to book appointments by phone; details on that process will be announced in the coming days. There will be no on-site registration.

Read the full story from Fran Spielman here.


9:50 a.m. Reopening retreat: State’s move into less restrictive ‘bridge phase’ pushed back as cases rise, hospital beds fill

Reopening plans are being pushed back in Illinois as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rise yet again statewide, public health officials announced Tuesday.

With 70% of seniors vaccinated with at least one dose, the state had been on pace to see some business restrictions lifted this week under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “bridge phase” before a full reopening by May.

Not so anymore, as coronavirus cases mount and more people head to hospitals with the deadly respiratory disease. The governor’s intermediate reopening plan also required hospitalizations to “hold steady or decline over a 28-day monitoring period.”

That count has risen almost daily since hitting a one-year low of 1,082 beds occupied by COVID-19 patients March 12. A total of 1,396 beds were taken up Monday night — the most since late February.

“As long as new hospital admissions continue to increase, the state will not advance to the Bridge Phase and on to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan,” officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. “The number of cases of COVID-19 has seen an increasing trend as well. Health officials continue to urge all residents to continue to mask up, socially distance, and avoid crowds to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to the Bridge Phase.”

Read the full story from Mitchell Armentrout here.

New Cases & Vaccination Numbers

  • The state reported 2,404 new cases were diagnosed among 51,579 tests, raising the state’s average testing positivity rate over the past week to 3.4%.
  • About 473 residents are testing positive each day, up 34% compared to a week ago, according to the city’s Department of Public Health.
  • The state reported 17 more deaths, including that of a McHenry County man in his 30s.
  • The state also reported 86,812 vaccine doses were administered Monday. About 105,040 shots are going into arms every day.

Analysis & Commentary

9:52 a.m. I didn’t expect ‘doom’ to be so exhausting

“Impending doom.”

I read the words aloud to my wife.

“Now there’s a phrase that you just don’t see very much,” I continued. “I wonder if other things ‘impend.’ Or is it just doom?”

She started to read something on her phone. The winds buffeted the old house, which groaned like a clipper ship rounding the Horn Monday night, as we fished the internet for news which, despite an upswing in positive developments — vaccines rolling out more and more, weather improving, that ship stuck in the Suez Canal finally freed — suddenly seems grim.

“The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of ‘impending doom’ from a potential fourth surge of the pandemic,” I read. “CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, appeared to fight back tears as she pleaded with Americans to ‘hold on a little while longer’ and continue following public health advice, like wearing masks and social distancing, to curb the virus’s spread.”

When government officials start to cry, that’s usually bad, right? Despite everything that’s gone on for the past … ah … year plus, the people in charge do not generally weep.

Read the full column from Neil Steinberg here.

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