Note: An earlier version of this story said that five counties were allowed to expand eligibility. Since then, the state has clarified that all Illinois counties that see lower demand for vaccines can now expand eligibility at their discretion.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday authorized counties in the state that see low demand for COVID vaccines to begin vaccinating all residents 16 years of age and older at their immediate discretion to “address a possible worrying trend in the increase. of COVID case and hospitalization rates. ”
The IDPH said in a statement that it had seen demand for vaccines decline in several counties “with early signs of missed appointments and an increased inventory of vaccines.”
As such, the state is authorizing counties with open appointments and slower demand to expand vaccine eligibility to use currently available doses. IDPH noted that residents should contact their local health department to find out if they have expanded their eligibility.
The state also announced Friday that it will send “Rapid Response Vaccination Teams” to five counties where epidemiologists “have determined that doses need to be administered quickly to mitigate rising trends,” the IDPH said. Those teams will administer Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines to residents in addition to what has already been allocated to counties.
Those counties are: Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee, and Whiteside. Details on dosages and how to schedule an appointment are as follows, by IDPH:
“The recent increases in hospital admissions and test positivity refer to new developments and we don’t want to go down the same path we’ve seen before and experience a resurgence of the pandemic, so Governor Pritzker directed us to use all of our resources to stop these spikes, ”IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.
Illinois has seen 10-day increases in the seven-day moving average for hospital admissions since March 8, IDPH said, and the COVID-19 test positivity was 3.3% as of Friday, down from 2.5% on March 10. March.
“While these rates are certainly significantly lower than the peak, they represent a possible early warning sign of a possible resurgence,” IDPH said.
Chicago officials said Thursday that the city’s coronavirus metrics have also shown “worrisome increases” in recent weeks, noting that “most alarmingly” is that the daily number of new COVID cases in the city has risen to the “high risk” category due to five in a row. days of increases.
IDPH noted Friday that Chicago’s daily case rate has increased by nearly 50% since last week, along with six days of increases in test positivity, while suburban Cook County has seen its daily rate of cases increase more than 40%, along with nine days of increasing the use of hospital beds.
“We can’t move forward if our metrics are going backwards,” Ezike said. “The vaccine will help us reach the end of the pandemic, but we must continue to reduce the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds,” keep a distance of six feet, get tested after seeing others and get vaccinated as soon as possible. “.
Governor JB Pritzker announced last week that all Illinois residents age 16 and older will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning April 12.
Below is the full vaccine eligibility schedule:
|December 15, 2020||Healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities|
|January 25, 2021||Essential frontline workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers, and other public-facing industries) and residents 65 and older|
|February 25, 2021||Residents with high risk conditions or disabilities, 16 years and older|
|March 22, 2021||Higher education personnel, government workers and the media|
|March 29, 2021||Restaurant staff, construction workers, and religious leaders|
|April 12, 2021||Any resident 16 years of age and older|
All vaccines are kept by appointment only, authorities said, noting that “making an appointment to receive a vaccine can take time.” Newly eligible workers can schedule appointments at “the more than 900 locations in the state’s provider network,” Pritzker said.
To see where and how you can make an appointment in Illinois or where you can get vaccine information for your area, click here.