A coalition of Illinois, Chicago, Cook County and federal officials will deliver a joint COVID-19 update Friday.

The update comes following reports that the United Center could become a mass vaccination center as soon as next month.

Meanwhile, Illinois’ Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations has expanded as the state opened up eligibility to a much larger group of residents. When might the next phase begin?

Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state:

Watch Live: Pritzker, Lightfoot, Federal Officials to Give Joint COVID-19 Update at 11:30 A.M.

A coalition of Illinois, Chicago, Cook County and federal officials will deliver a joint COVID-19 update Friday.

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 details of what they may discuss were not immediately clear. The event can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 11:30 a.m. CT.

Read more here.

Dozens Denied COVID Vaccines After Trying to Use Reservations Made for Others: Officials

Approximately 100 people were turned away from a suburban vaccination facility on Saturday when they tried to use reservations that had been made for other people, an unexpected problem that has McHenry County public health officials considering their options on how to avoid a repeat of the incident.

According to McHenry County Public Health Nursing Director Susan Karras, the attempt by individuals to use the appointments was “disheartening” in a time when vaccine doses are limited due to shipping issues caused by recent bad weather.

“Those are missed opportunities, because they are using those limited spaces that we have, or limited doses that we have,” she said. “They are taking those opportunities away from those people who do qualify, and that we are trying to target.”

Karras says that the vaccine rollout has been going well in McHenry County, but it hit a glitch over the weekend when people began sharing the links they received by email to set up appointments.

“We are having to turn them away because we are trying to focus on priority groups,” she said. “We don’t want people jumping in the line outside of those groups.”

Karras says the reservation emails explicitly tell residents not to share the links with others, and the county is considering penalties for those who do.

Read more here.

Chicago Businesses Cited After Violating COVID Restrictions Over Weekend

A Chicago event space has been cited for violating coronavirus restrictions after more than 50 people gathered for an event this weekend, one of several businesses to receive citations for COVID restriction-related infractions.

The Affair Room, 1929 W. 87th St., held a gathering with 57 people in attendance not wearing masks or social distancing. It was also issued a Cease and Desist Order for operating without a business license.

From Feb. 18 to 21, BACP investigators conducted 107 investigations and cited four establishments for violating COVID-19 regulations. Three locations, including The Affair Room, were cited for holding gatherings that did not comply with COVID-19 regulations at unlicensed locations, and one business was cited for employees failing to wear face coverings.

Luxurious Events LLC, 2452 W. Division St., held a gathering with 25 patrons after the required midnight closure time, without social distancing or face coverings. Establishment was also issued a Cease and Desist Order for operating without a business license.

Employees at Shark’s Fish and Chicken on 71st St. failed to require employees to wear face coverings.

Finally, an unnamed location at 5643 W North Ave was also cited for holding a gathering with 24 patrons without social distancing or face coverings. It was also issued a Cease and Desist Order for operating without a business license.

Since March 2020, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has conducted 8,635 investigations and cited 441 businesses for violating COVID-19 regulations.

Should You Wait to Receive a COVID Vaccine With New Variants Arising?

Should you wait to receive the coronavirus vaccine if new variants continue to arise? Chicago’s top doctor weighs in.

In a Facebook live event Thursday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady encouraged city residents to receive the vaccine amid new coronavirus variants, saying the vaccine may never change.

“I’m not sure we’re ever going to have to change the vaccine,” Arwady said. “if we do, we’re talking like way down the line in the context of variants.”

As the U.S. continues to monitor new variants of COVID-19 emerging nationwide, Arwady noted that, in the future, manufactures could adapt or booster the vaccine with more information.

The main concern in the city, Arwady said, has been the variant first reported out of the U.K., which she noted has been detected in at least a dozen cases in the city, but more across the state.

“That’s the one that is thought to be more infectious meaning more contagious, but the vaccine continues to be very protective against it as we saw in in this trial here,” Arwady said during a Facebook Live this week.

Read more here.

United Center Could Become Mass Vaccination Center as Soon as March: Report

The United Center could become a mass vaccination center as soon as next month, offering COVID-19 vaccine doses to up to 7,000 people per day, according to a recent report.

The news is expected to be announced Friday by both the White House and Gov. J.B . Pritzker, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, which cited sources close to the matter for information that the United Center will focus on minority groups disproportionately affected by the virus.

The governor’s office did not immediately confirm the announcement, but applauded the Biden Administration for “efforts to launch high capacity vaccination sites across the country are essential to equity,”

“[Gov. Pritzker] appreciates the robust collaboration with the President and his team,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Our partners at Cook County and in the City of Chicago are also essential to our collective success, especially as we work together to make sure we’re ready to use the increasing supply of vaccine in the most equitable way possible.”

Chicago health officials had previously said they were looking into creating mass vaccination sites at several sports stadiums, but those venues wouldn’t be used until the city gets more doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Read more here.

As Vaccinations Increase in Illinois, When Could the State Reach Phase 5 of Reopening?

Phase 5 of Illinois’ reopening plan was set to begin once a vaccine or highly effective treatment became widely available.

With vaccinations for coronavirus in Illinois increasing, and eligibility expanding, that day is inching closer, but according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker we’re not there yet.

“You know, I’ve said from early on that what we need is an effective vaccine that we can widely distribute and a very effective or a very effective treatment that we could widely distribute and we’re getting there,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “I mean… about one in seven Illinoisans already has their first dose in their arms. We need to get closer to herd immunity for everybody to feel, you know, that we’re beyond phase four and for us to actually be able to reopen everything entirely.”

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,884 New Cases, 32 Additional Deaths, Over 130K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois are reporting 1,884 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with 32 additional deaths attributed to the virus.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Thursday’s new cases bring the state to 1,181,226 cases of the virus since the pandemic began last year. A total of 20,406 deaths have been reported as a result of the virus.

The seven-day positivity rate dropped Thursday, with 2.5% of all tests coming back with positive results, according to IDPH. The positivity rate on individuals tested dropped slightly to 2.7%.

Over the last 24 hours, state laboratories received 91,292 test specimens, with 17,895,829 tests performed during the pandemic in all.

Hospitalizations in the state continue to drop, with 1,463 patients currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of those patients, 334 are currently in intensive care units, while 168 are on ventilators.

According to IDPH data, a total of 130,021 doses of the vaccine were administered in Illinois on Wednesday, with the seven-day rolling average now standing at 66,274 doses per day.

A total of 2,693,345 vaccine doses have been delivered to providers in Illinois, along with 445,200 doses delivered to pharmacies as part of a federal program to inoculate staff and residents at long-term care facilities. Of those 3.1 million doses, 2,440,950 vaccines had been administered in Illinois as of midnight, including 295,909 for long-term care facilities.

When Might Phase 1C of COVID Vaccinations Begin in Illinois? Here’s What Pritzker Said

As Illinois enters an expanded Phase 1B, opening up doses to thousands more residents, when might the state move ahead even further, into Phase 1C?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker addressed that question Wednesday saying he’s “anxious” get there but doesn’t have a timeline.

“I don’t want to speculate. It’s very hard to say exactly because I don’t have a projection out far enough to really know, but I’m anxious, I think like we all are, to get to phase 1C and beyond,” Pritzker said during a press conference. “We want to get everybody vaccinated as soon as possible but we’re trying to get to all of the most vulnerable populations first.”

Though Illinois has yet to announce planned dates for future vaccine phases, Chicago officials have said Phase 1C could come at the end of March and Phase 2, which includes all residents over the age of 16, could begin May 31.

“It may be sooner than expected, but that timeline that we laid out actually continues to look pretty consistent with our numbers,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday. “If you recall, we really said the end of March, March 29, was where we were guessing we might be at a point to be able to move ahead into 1C and then, the end of May is when we might be able to move ahead to Phase 2 and I haven’t seen anything that really suggests major, major differences from that. I think if we do get a lot more vaccine in March, maybe more than we were expecting, you know, is it possible we could open up you know providers to get start doing existing patients who are, you know, have underlying conditions? It’s possible, but I really we’ve got to make sure that these highest risk folks are first getting the access to vaccination.”

Read more here.

Phase 1B COVID Vaccinations Expand in Illinois: Here’s What You Need to Know

Illinois’ Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations expanded Thursday as the state opened up eligibility to a much larger group of residents.

Known as Phase 1B Plus, the current phase of Illinois’ COVID vaccine rollout now includes people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. But that won’t be the case everywhere.

Here’s what we know so far about the expanded Phase 1B, including who is eligible, which locations are expanding and which are not, if you need proof and more.

Illinois Vaccinations





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