High school football returned to the field Friday night for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, several new COVID-19 vaccination sites are opening in Illinois next week, as more residents become eligible for the vaccine.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Full List: Here’s When You Can Get the COVID Vaccine in Illinois

Expansions for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility are on the horizon, according to health officials, with less than a month until nearly all Illinois residents over the age of 16 can be vaccinated.

As of Saturday, much of the state remains under vaccination Phase 1B Plus, with most of Chicago under Phase 1B guidelines. By the end of the month, city health officials will begin vaccinating Phase 1C, as officially announced this week.

For a full list of when you can be vaccinated in Illinois, click here.

These Are the COVID Vaccination Sites Opening in Illinois Next Week

With more coronavirus vaccines arriving in the Chicago area, health departments announced new vaccination clinics will open next week.

Illinois entered Phase 1B plus, opening up doses to those with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. Chicago and several surrounding suburbs, however, remain under Phase 1B guidelines, which opens up vaccinations to people age 65 years and older, as well as “frontline essential workers.”

For a list of vaccination sites opening next week, click here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,962 New COVID Cases, 25 Deaths, 120K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois on Saturday reported 1,962 new coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths, along with more than 120,000 vaccinations in the past 24 hours.

According to figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 1,962 new confirmed and probable COVID cases reported in the last day brought the state’s total to 1,220,432 cases since the pandemic began last year.

The 25 new deaths lifted the state’s death toll to 21,059 fatalities related to the virus, according to health officials.

According to health officials, the seven-day positivity rate on all tests currently stands at 2.6%, an increase from the day before, while the positivity rate for individuals tested remained at 2.8%.

A total of 120,426 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the past 24 hours, IDPH said. The latest figures brought the rolling seven-day average for daily vaccinations to 98,165.

Read more here.

Chicago Doctor Shares Experience Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 While Pregnant

A Chicago doctor is sharing her experience with the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant in hopes of encouraging others to explore their options.

Dr. Carmen Adams, a gynecologist at Cook County Health, received the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at 36 weeks pregnant, and the second dose one week post-partum.

Adams said receiving the vaccine was a personal choice, and it came down to weighing the risks and benefits.

“My own personal risk of being in the hospital and being pregnant, as pregnant women tend to have more risk of severe complications if they were to get COVID, as well as being an African American female being at higher risk,” said Adams.

Read more here.

High School Football Returns to Illinois With COVID Changes

High school football returned to the field Friday night for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

In accordance with Illinois High School Association guidelines, the football team is on a shortened season, playing six games instead of nine with no runs for the championship title.

“Not what we want, but we’re going to take full advantage of it, play our best football, improving each week,” Maine South football coach Dave Inserra said. “We got goals in mind of championships. It’s obviously a different championship this year.”

Players said they know safety is important, and they’re taking all precautions to avoid another shutdown of their season.

Read more here.

First Ever Double Lung Transplant Between COVID Patients Performed in Chicago

Chicago doctors completed one of the first known double lung transplants from one former coronavirus patient to another.

The procedure not only made history, according to Chicago doctors, but is also opening doors for donors and recipients as demand increases because of the pandemic.

The history-making procedure lasted about 10 hours, almost double that of a traditional lung transplant. The recipient was an Illinois man in his 60s, who had a severe COVID-19 infection, according to Northwestern Medicine.

Dr. Ankit Bharat, Northwestern Medicine’s director of the lung transplant program, said the patient was on ECMO life support for four months and on a ventilator since May 2020.

He said the lungs came from a donor who had a mild case of COVID-19, but died from an unrelated matter.

Read more here.

Loretto Hospital Vaccinated Members of CEO’s Suburban Church

Chicago’s Loretto Hospital, which is at the center of controversy for improperly vaccinating a number of city residents and workers, also vaccinated members of its CEO’s suburban church, according to video obtained by NBC 5.

Oak Forest’s Valley Kingdom Ministries International honored Loretto Hospital CEO and President George Miller for his role in bringing the vaccine to the church during a service on Feb. 28. In accepting his award from the church, Miller acknowledges that he and the church’s leader are longtime friends.

In a statement, Loretto said Miller “reached out directly to CDPH before the hospital agreed to provide vaccines to eligible recipients at his church.”

“CDPH informed Mr. Miller that as long as the recipients lived, worked, or received medical care in the city and were 1A or 1B-eligible they could be vaccinated,” the statement read.

Read more here.

Essential Workers Will Be Eligible for COVID Vaccine in Illinois This Month, State Announces

Essential workers not currently eligible under Illinois’ Phase 1B Plus will soon qualify for the COVID vaccine under new eligibility guidelines released by the state Friday.

According to the updated guidance, Illinois will expand eligibility beginning Monday to higher education staff, government workers, and media. Then, beginning March 29, food and beverage workers, construction trade workers, and religious leaders will be eligible for the vaccine.

Here’s a look at the full schedule of vaccine eligibility.

Chicago Withholding 1st Doses of COVID Vaccine From Loretto Hospital Amid Controversy

The Chicago Department of Public Health says that it will withhold first doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Loretto Hospital after officials admitted that members of its staff improperly vaccinated employees of Chicago’s Trump Tower, as well as more than a dozen Cook County Circuit Court judges.

The CDPH confirmed that it will not send shipments of first doses to the hospital, but said that it will allow residents who received their first dose of the vaccine at the hospital to receive their second doses in the coming days.

“The hospital will not receive first doses until we can confirm their vaccination strategies and reporting practices meet all CPDH requirements,” the department said in a statement.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also released a statement, saying that the city “will not tolerate providers who blatantly disregard” CDPH guidelines.

Read more here.

Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Will Expand to All Adults Outside Chicago in April, Pritzker Says

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine will expand to all Illinois residents over the age of 16, except for those in the city of Chicago, beginning on April 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.

“At that date, all state-supported mass vaccination sites, local health departments, pharmacy partners – in short, every jurisdiction that receives vaccine from the State of Illinois’ allocation – will be instructed to move to widespread eligibility,” Pritzker’s office said in a statement.

All vaccinations will remain by appointment only, officials said, noting that “making an appointment to receive a shot may take time.”

Pritzker’s office also noted that residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine cannot yet schedule an appointment for a future date, asking for patience in the days and weeks after April 12 as appointments “may be limited.”

Read more here.

Illinois Vaccinations

Pritzker Announces New ‘Bridge Phase’ Aimed at Getting Illinois to Phase 5

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday new metrics and guidelines aimed at transitioning the state to a full reopening, unveiling what he called a “Bridge Phase” that would allow for higher capacity limits prior to entering Phase 5.

The new phase allows for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations, the state announced, but masks will continue to be mandated.

The updated guidelines bridge the gap between Phase 4, which the state is currently in, and Phase 5, which would mark a complete reopening and requires a widely available vaccine or highly effective treatment.

According to the governor, the so-called Bridge Phase “will serve as a transition period with higher capacity limits and increased business operations, without prematurely embracing a reckless reopening before the majority of Illinoisans have been vaccinated.”

All of Illinois will move through the Bridge Phase and Phase 5 together, once they meet the required metrics, unlike previous tiered mitigations.

In order for Illinois to advance to the Bridge Phase, the entire state must reach a 70% first-dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and older, in addition to maintaining the current required metrics of at least 20% ICU beds availability and holding steady on hospitalizations for COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses, mortality rates and case rates over a 28-day monitoring period.

Read more here.





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