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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: NBC 5 Town Hall, 3 New Mass Vaccination Sites, Shipment Delays

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: NBC 5 Town Hall, 3 New Mass Vaccination Sites, Shipment Delays

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Shipments of vaccine doses have been delayed in Chicago, across Illinois and around the country due to severe weather conditions, officials say.

Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his annual state of the state and budget address virtually on Wednesday.

Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state:

Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,966 New Cases, 72 Deaths, 73K Vaccinations Reported Thursday

Health officials in Illinois reported 1,966 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with 72 additional deaths and more than 73,000 doses of vaccine administered the day before, though severe weather has delayed the number of doses delivered to the state.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Thursday's new confirmed and probable case numbers lifted the statewide total to 1,168,683 cases since the pandemic began.

The death toll now stands at 20,129, according to IDPH.

A total of 73,091 doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered in Illinois over the last 24 hours, health officials said Thursday. That lifted the statewide total number of vaccinations to 1,977,033 doses given thus far, including 266,037 administered at long-term care facilities.

IDPH noted that severe weather has delayed the number of doses delivered to Illinois.

Read more here.

Imaging Reveals How COVID Can 'Cause the Body to Attack Itself,' Study Shows

Medical imaging has revealed that COVID-19 can in some cases "cause the body to attack itself," marking the first glimpse at what is behind mysterious severe, long-lasting and sometimes bizarre symptoms - even in those who never knew they contracted the virus, a new study has found.

From rheumatoid arthritis flares to autoimmune issues to “COVID toes,” there have been several reports of unusual and potentially concerning symptoms associated with coronavirus, many of which have been a mystery during the pandemic.  

But according to a Northwestern Medicine study, radiological imaging has "for the first time, confirmed and illustrated the causes of these symptoms."

“We’ve realized that the COVID virus can trigger the body to attack itself in different ways, which may lead to rheumatological issues that require lifelong management,” corresponding author Dr. Swati Deshmukh said in a release.

Read more here.

How to Watch NBC 5 Town Hall Answering Your Coronavirus Vaccine Questions Live

A panel of top Illinois doctors, medical specialists and insurance and pharmacy experts have joined NBC 5's "Vaccinated State" panel to answer your questions about the coronavirus vaccine live this Thursday.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Dr. Candice Robinson, medical director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, are among eight experts who will answer questions on NBC 5 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18. See the full list of experts below.

Want to ask a question? Bookmark this link. We'll take your questions in the below form starting at noon on Thursday. Then starting at 6 p.m. that day, watch the panel on NBC 5 and right here on NBCChicago.com and the NBC Chicago app.

Gov. Pritzker to Tour Vaccination Site in the Metro East

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to tour a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Metro East region on Thursday.

Pritzker is scheduled to join local officials at 12:30 p.m. to tour the state-supported mass vaccination site at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center, located at 200 South Belt East in Belleville, according to his public schedule.

The event can be watched live in the video player above.

Chicago Spent $281.5 Million in Pandemic Relief Cash on Cops

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money on the personnel costs for the police department, the city's budget office revealed Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune reports of the $1.2 billion Chicago received from the federal government to help plug budget holes caused the drop of revenue due to the pandemic, $281.5 million went to the Chicago Police Department. Money also went to Chicago’s public health response to the pandemic, to homeless services, senior citizen assistance and O’Hare and Midway international airports.

Speaking to aldermen in June, city Budget Director Susie Park said no relief money had been spent on police. But the Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday said specific coronavirus-related police costs from March through May were later identified for federal reimbursement once coronavirus relief money started arriving.

Those costs included police wellness checks on residents, airport security when travelers were screened for COVID-19, security at the McCormick Place coronavirus field hospital and security at virus testing sites.

The Lightfoot administration sought City Council approval to transfer about $65 million in unspent federal COVID-19 money into the 2021 budget. That became possible after the Biden administration waived Federal Emergency Management Agency local funding matches and extended the deadline to spend federal dollars until the end of the year.

Read more here.

DuPage County Expects Reduction in Number of 1st COVID Vaccine Doses in Coming Weeks

Health officials in suburban DuPage County say that over the next three weeks there will be a large reduction in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available to residents seeking their first dose of the vaccine.

According to a press release from the DuPage County Health Department, officials only expect to receive 2,450 vaccine doses for those individuals seeking their first dose of the medicine. That number is far below the 14,000 new vaccine doses that have been administered weekly since the treatment became available in December.

The reason for that lower allocation is a push by officials to administer second doses of the vaccine to those who have already received their first dose, and as a result only extremely limited appointments will be made available for those seeking their first dose of the vaccine.

The DCHD expects that the shortage in allocated doses will last for three weeks, with more doses becoming available in early-to-mid March.

Read more here.

Gov. Pritzker Delivers State of the State, Budget Address for Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his annual state of the state and budget address virtually this year as Illinois enters what it hopes will be the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the challenges that have come with vaccinations across the state and country.

The address, Pritzker's third as governor, looked different this year as he spoke virtually from the State Fairgrounds in Springfield - a symbolic location as Illinois enters what it hopes will be the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the challenges that have come with vaccinations across the state and country.

Standing in the same location where a 100-bed make-shift hospital was once erected to care for patients of the Spanish Flu in 1918, Pritzker emphasized the devastation the coronavirus pandemic has left in its wake, and offered a glimpse at the trying financial future the state now faces.

"The price we’ve paid to save lives has been enormous, and we do not honor sacrifice when we do not recognize it," Pritzker said.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,795 New Cases, 24 Deaths, 40K Vaccinations Reported Wednesday

Health officials in Illinois reported 1,795 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, along with 24 additional deaths and more than 40,000 doses of vaccine administered the day before, although severe weather has delayed the number of doses delivered to the state, health officials said.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Wednesday's new confirmed and probable case numbers lifted the statewide total to 1,166,717 cases since the pandemic began.

The death toll now stands at 20,057, according to IDPH.

Over the last 24 hours, 49,937 tests have been administered to Illinois residents, bringing the state total to 17,320,814 since the pandemic began.

The rolling positivity rate on all tests conducted in the last seven days stands at 2.8%, health officials said. The positivity rate on individuals tested was at 3.4%.

As of Tuesday night, 1,719 people were in Illinois hospitals with coronavirus. Of those, 375 patients were in the ICU and 176 patients were on ventilators.

A total of 40,380 doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered in Illinois over the last 24 hours, health officials said Wednesday. That lifted the statewide total number of vaccinations to 1,903,942 doses given thus far, including 256,114 administered at long-term care facilities.

A total of 2,102,500 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, state health officials said, plus 445,200 doses allocated to the federal government’s program for long-term care facilities.

IDPH noted that severe weather has delayed the number of doses delivered to Illinois.

"While this week’s allocation from the federal government was approximately 365,000 doses, we have only received approximately 55,000 doses of that allocation so far this week," IDPH said in a statement. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated some shipments may go out today."

The rolling seven-day daily average of vaccinations stands at 60,552 per day, according to IDPH.

Illinois Launches 3 New Mass Vaccination Sites

The state of Illinois added three new mass vaccination sites, officials announced Wednesday, as the state aims to "provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible Illinois residents in an equitable manner."

The new locations will be located in central and southern Illinois, in an effort to bring vaccine to "rural and underserved communities."

Two vaccination sites will open Friday in Carbondale and one site will offer vaccine doses in Springfield beginning Wednesday, the state announced.

For more information click here.

Winter Weather Causing Delays in Federal COVID Vaccine Delivery in Illinois

The federal government said Tuesday that shipping delays are expected across the country, including in Illinois, as winter weather wreaks havoc on several states.

According to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office, "the federal government has notified all states of COVID-19 vaccine delivery delays across the entire country due to adverse weather and road conditions."

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Operation Warp Speed deliveries slated for Tuesday would be "significantly impacted" as adverse weather impacted operations at facilities where "vaccines and ancillary supply kits originate." 

The departments warned that delays could continue throughout the week.

"To help offset delayed vaccine deliveries, the state of Illinois proactively ordered vaccine to be delivered to its Strategic National Stockpile Receipt, Store, and Stage site in anticipation of adverse weather," Pritzker's office said in a release. "Illinois is distributing that vaccine to many providers around the state today and tomorrow, as weather permits, to continue to support vaccination operations."

More Than 100 Providers Didn't Get COVID Vaccine Shipments in Chicago as Snowstorm Sparks Delays

The winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow across much of the Chicago area this week has led to a delay in vaccine shipments to the city, leaving more than 100 providers without their expected shipments, officials said Tuesday.

Already, city-run testing and vaccinations sites were closed Tuesday following the massive snowstorm.

"The inclement weather in the Midwest has also led to a delay of vaccine shipments coming into Chicago over the upcoming days," the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a release. "While there is currently no estimated time of arrival on the orders, we anticipate daily updates from CDC. All COVID shipments are requested as overnight shipping so we expect vaccine shipments and supply with catch up quickly."

Officials noted that deliveries from Chicago's allocation to vaccine providers will also be delayed due to the travel impacts from the storm. Officials urged anyone with appointments at private healthcare centers to contact their providers and check on the status of their appointments.

"The city is assessing the overall impact from the storm and will make further decisions regarding testing and vaccine operations on a day-to-day," CDPH stated.

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city usually receives its weekly shipments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But with Monday being a federal holiday, followed by a dangerous winter snowstorm, "we didn't get the vaccine we were expected."

"There's more than 100 providers that didn't get their vaccine like we were hoping today," Arwady said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday. "We just need to wait for that vaccine to get here."

She added that she's hopeful the shipments will arrive in the next days or two. Arwady said the city's POD vaccination sites were rescheduling appointments due to closures from the storm as well as the shipping delays. As for other providers, Arwady said many will also be rescheduling patients.

Chicago Again Increases Indoor Dining Capacity After Hitting 4 Coronavirus Metrics

Chicago is again increasing indoor dining capacity at restaurants and bars after the city reached the threshold in multiple COVID-19 metrics that officials laid out in a framework to ease some restrictions earlier this month.

City officials announced Tuesday that, effective immediately, restaurants, bars and events can offer indoor service at 40% capacity or to a maximum of 50 people, whichever is lower. Prior to Tuesday, indoor dining was limited to the lesser of 35% capacity or 50 people per room or floor.

The expansion of indoor service comes after the city recorded less than 400 new COVID-19 cases per day on a seven-day rolling average for each of the last three days, the city said.

That lowered the city to a "low" or "moderate" risk in all four metrics health officials designated earlier this month to determine indoor dining capacity. 

Suburban Cook County Increases Indoor Dining Capacity, Effective Immediately

Suburban Cook County will increase indoor dining capacity at restaurants and bars in alignment with the city of Chicago's guidelines after reaching the threshold of coronavirus metrics that officials provided earlier this month.

Cook County officials announced Tuesday that, effective immediately, restaurants, bars and events can offer indoor service at 40% capacity or to a maximum of 50 people, whichever is lower. Prior to Tuesday, indoor dining was limited to the lesser of 35% capacity or 50 people per room or floor.

“The COVID-19 metrics continue to improve, allowing us to align with the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Stickney Township Public Health District and ease mitigation restrictions in suburban Cook County,” Dr. Kiran Joshi, Senior Medical Officer at Cook County Department of Public Health said.

The new mitigation order adds that any person over the age of two who can medically tolerate wearing a mask should do so in public areas.

Check How Your County's COVID Vaccination Data Compares to the State

As Illinois marks the third week of COVID-19 vaccinations in Phase 1B, health officials have administered more than 1.8 million doses. Check the chart below to see how your county's vaccinations compare to the state.

Illinois Vaccinations

Note: For COVID-19, the herd-immunity threshold is estimated to be between 60 and 90 percent. Our analysis considers herd immunity reached at 75% of the population fully vaccinated based on estimates by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

 

Here's Who Will Be Eligible for the COVID Vaccine in Illinois Starting Next Week

Illinois plans to expand the list of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in Phase 1B of its rollout beginning next Thursday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state expects to add people with "a high-risk medical condition" or comorbidity. The list includes those with cancer, diabetes, obesity, women who are pregnant, and those with several other conditions.

"In light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC," the governor's office said in a release. "In addition, Illinois will also prioritize individuals with disabilities."

The list of qualifying high-risk medical conditions (which is subject to change) includes:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Condition
  • Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease

“Those who are under 65 and live with comorbidities, such as cancer survivors or those living with heart disease, have an elevated risk of serious complications or death if they contract COVID-19," Pritzker said in a statement. "Illinois is moving forward in accordance with guidance from the CDC to expand our eligible population as supply allows, getting us closer to the point when the vaccine is widely available to all who want it. In the meantime, I encourage all Illinoisans to wear our masks and follow the mitigations so that more of our neighbors are healthy and alive when it’s their turn in the vaccination line.”

The expansion applies to those 16 and older who weren't otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories, the state said, adding that it plans to work with local health departments and other providers as eligibility increases.

For a complete look at where and how you can make an appointment in Illinois or where you can receive vaccine information for your area, click here.

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