The number of coronavirus cases statewide continues to climb as officials reported Friday more than 4,000 new and probable cases, as well as 21 virus-related deaths.
Suburban Cook County residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, and while eligibility in Chicago doesn’t expand until April 19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said adults in Chicago are also “absolutely welcome” to sign up at any state-run mass vaccination site starting Monday.
Illinois’ ban on evictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been extended amid a steady increase in confirmed cases and hospitalizations that has complicated efforts to lift restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Chicago will make all residents ages 16 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 19, meeting a deadline announced Tuesday by President Joe Biden, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced hours later. The city needs more vaccine to meet the sky-high demand for the life-saving shots, Lightfoot said.
New funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow Illinois to “move quickly to further expand our aggressive efforts to reach those most vulnerable to COVID-19,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was disappointed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that gives a subset of Chicago firefighters the same retirement package as their peers, saying it will “result in a deeper financial burden to the taxpayers of Chicago.” Days earlier, he signed another law Lightfoot had pressured him to reject.
It’s been a violent start to 2021 in Chicago, which has recorded 131 homicides in the first three months of the year. Now, a measure sitting on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk declares violence a public health crisis and takes aim at racial inequities in the state’s health care system.
Some retired firefighters could see their pensions grow after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure to boost the annual cost-of-living increase added to their checks. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the measure would create an “unfunded mandate” that would force Chicago officials to raise taxes or cut services.
Illinois residents ages 16 and older who live in 80 of the state’s 102 counties are now eligible for the vaccine, state health officials announced Monday. However, health departments in Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will and Cook counties as well as Chicago have yet to expand eligibility.
The Illinois Predatory Lending Prevention Act was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The legislation had support from organizations around the state, but critics say the law could shut down the payday lending industry in Illinois, leading to a host of bigger problems.
Defying Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Friday restoring the ability of the Chicago Teachers Union to bargain with the city over a wide range of issues, including class size, layoffs and the duration of the school year.
Three times in the past year, officials have trumpeted the news that COVID-19 case rates had dropped, prompting them to allow businesses to reopen or expand capacity. And three times, officials have returned to the microphones approximately one month later to warn that COVID-19 was spreading fast.
Illinois is on the edge of a bridge to fully reopening the economy, with 69% of adult residents ages 65 and older now vaccinated against the virus. But rather than inching closer to its goal, the state is instead stepping back due to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The final decision on vaccine eligibility remains with local health departments, officials said. That means the change will not expand eligibility in areas of the state, like Chicago and Cook County, where demand for the COVID-19 vaccine continues to far outpace supply.
“We really do have a fighting chance now to bring this pandemic to an end,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday before receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Springfield.
Following months of negotiations, a coalition of local legal groups on Tuesday announced it had agreed to settle its lawsuit after state officials agreed to improve the Illinois Department of Correction’s use of existing release options for medically vulnerable inmates with expiring sentences.