As schools across Illinois welcome back more students for in-person learning, state officials have announced a new investment to increase access to COVID-19 testing “at low or no cost.”
Vaccination clinics will open in office buildings in downtown Chicago and across the state as officials continue to get as many people vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly as possible. The vaccines will allow the city to put “the pandemic in the rearview mirror,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.
“The days of vaccine scarcity are over,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday. “Today, we’re initiating the expansion of vaccine administration to physician offices across the state of Illinois, allowing them to become COVID-19 vaccine providers for their patients.”
Black women are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts, according to a new report. While that disparity has narrowed, officials say it’s not due to conditions improving for Black women but instead worsening conditions for white women.
“Our young adults have a key role to play in bringing this pandemic to an end,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement Friday announcing state-supported mass vaccination sites will have appointments available specifically for college students starting this weekend.
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.
Cook County leaders may have no choice but to impose new restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 amid a “very sharp” increase in infections, officials said Saturday. “We are in the beginnings of a new surge,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
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.
A new call center will help eligible Illinois residents — including those without access to the internet — secure a coveted COVID-19 vaccine appointment by phone.
Illinois health officials announced Wednesday that they are temporarily redirecting approximately 97,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses that have not yet been used in order to increase the limited supply of vaccine to those who are eligible under phase 1B.
In the 12 months since Illinois identified its first case of COVID-19, more than 1.1 million infections have been reported in the state and 18,750 people have died after testing positive for the virus.
“Most people survive this illness but some don’t,” Illinois’ top doctor said before receiving her first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. “I don’t want to gamble with my life and I don’t want anyone else to gamble with theirs.”
With fewer than 350,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine administered to date in Illinois, Gov. J. B. Pritzker urged patience among residents, stating: “We all want this to happen faster.”
“We ask that IDPH acknowledge the high risk of COVID-19 exposure for people living in all forms of state custody and the staff who work with them and prioritize them for vaccinations,” dozens of groups wrote in a letter to state health officials.
US Surgeon General Pays a Visit to Chicago
Just days before Christmas, a trio of high-profile doctors, including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, made a plea for people to follow public health measures designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, even as two vaccines are being distributed across the U.S.
COVID-19 in Illinois: 8,828 New Cases, 181 Additional Deaths
Gov J.B. Pritzker said the state's first vaccine shipments have been distributed to 77 hospitals across Illinois, and on Thursday, another 43,000 additional doses arrived in Cook, Lake, Madison and St. Clair counties.