Illinois Coronavirus: Pritzker Lets Local Officials Expand Vaccine Suitability Amid Increase in Cases

Citing a “concerning possible trend” in rising COVID-19 infection rates statewide, Governor JB Pritzker deployed vaccination teams in five hard-hit counties in northwestern Illinois on Friday and authorized other local health departments to check out the possibility. expand to get more guns into battle. as quickly as possible.

Public health officials say they have seen demand slow down in a number of counties, leaving agreements unfulfilled, while the statewide mean coronavirus positivity rate has risen 38% in less than two weeks.

Therefore, the governor’s health team allows local health officials to dispense doses to any resident aged 16 or older “at their sole discretion,” according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“We want to avoid a wave, so we’ve tried to get on top of this as soon as possible, to make sure that not only are we vaccinating more people, but we have teams that go to the regions of the state where this is happening, and … bring about change so we can lower the numbers, ”Pritzker said at an unrelated South Side press conference.

The troubling revival also threatens to derail Pritzker’s ‘bridging phase’ plan, which was about to ease more business restrictions within weeks.

“We can’t move forward if our statistics go down,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Public Health said in a statement.

Officials have not specified all the communities where the demand for vaccines “appears to have declined.” They urged residents to contact local health departments directly to see if they qualify more.

“Every county is different and local health departments know better how to vaccinate people in their communities as quickly and fairly as possible,” said Ezike.

Pritzker previously announced plans to open appointments to all residents 16 and above from April 12, although officials in Chicago and the Cook County suburbs have said it will likely be closer to May 1 for city area providers.

For now, Pritzker is also sending “ rapid response ” vaccination teams to five counties in the northwestern part of the state, where experts say they should “ administer doses quickly to slow rising trends. ”

The state will receive a record high of nearly 1 million vaccine doses from the federal government next week. With the last 126,710 shots delivered statewide on Thursday, nearly 2 million residents are now fully immunized, but that’s only 15.4% of the population.

COVID-19 vaccine doses given during the day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Is the graph not displaying correctly? Click here.

Illinois has delivered an average of 99,449 shots per day for the past week, while COVID-19 infection and hospital admission rates – which nearly hit rock bottom earlier this month – have risen step by step, much like last October, before a devastating fall resurgence.

For the first time since February 6, the public health department reported more than 3,000 new cases of the disease in one day, with 3,002 infections diagnosed under 76,774 tests. That raised the state’s moving average positivity rate to 2.9%, which was 2.1% on March 13.

Hospitals treated 1,302 COVID-19 patients Thursday night, the most they’ve seen since late February – and a 15% increase from two weeks ago.

New daytime COVID-19 cases

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Is the graph not displaying correctly? Click here.

“While these numbers are certainly significantly below the peak, they are a possible early warning sign of a possible resurgence,” the state health department said in a statement.

The state also reported 33 more deaths, including that of a teenager in Cook County.

In general, the death rate in Illinois has been declining since late December, but experts agree that an increase in the number of cases is usually followed weeks later by an increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Chicago health commissioner Allison Arwady sounded the alarm earlier this week about rising transmission among young people aged 18-39. The governor’s health team noted that the daily number of cases has increased by 50% in the past week, while in the suburbs of Cook County, they have increased by about 40%.

Pritzker praised his “aggressive action” against the potential spike about a week after outlining the plan for the “bridging phase” ahead of a possible full reopening as early as May.

To get into the bridging phase, 70% of residents 65 or older must receive at least a first dose of vaccine – a benchmark the state will meet “in the coming days,” officials said.

The other requirements are to keep 20% or more of the beds in the intensive care unit open in the state and to keep hospital admissions and death rates the same or decrease over a 28-day period. Both statistics are going in the wrong direction.

“This is very concerning to us and so we are taking a break here to evaluate these numbers,” said Pritzker. “What we mainly want to do is make sure: is this a blip in the numbers? … or is this something that could have some supporting properties, in which case we obviously want to be extra careful.”

In the past year, more than 1.2 million residents have been tested positive for the disease and 21,203 have died.