The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Thursday that the first cases of COVID variant B.1.351 were confirmed in the state, in a Rock Island resident. Currently, the state reports 22 cases of UK variant B 1.1.7.
Doctors say the South African variant has most likely already spread across the state.
“The worrying thing is that, as I said, some of these variants seem to appear more frequently, suggesting that there is something about them that gives them an advantage over other versions of COVID,” said Dr. Mary Hayden, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center.
Both variants appear to spread faster, health officials said, and could lead to more cases of the virus or even another increase.
“The South African variant is a bit more problematic. It diminishes the ability of vaccines to induce the antibodies that would suppress it. But it doesn’t completely eliminate it,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Allergy Institute. and infectious diseases.
Doctors said that vaccine manufacturers are beginning to adjust doses to keep up with the mutations. Still, they reminded the public of the urgent need to wear a mask, stay socially distanced, limit in-person gatherings outside the home of all sizes, and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
Meanwhile, Illinois health officials reported 2,825 new COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths Thursday.
The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 1,155,833, with a total of 19,841 deaths, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last 24 hours, laboratories have reported 96,525 samples for a total of 16,918,910.
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As of Wednesday night, 1,954 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of these, 448 patients were in the ICU and 227 COVID-19 patients were on ventilators.
The preliminary positivity of the seven-day state test from Feb. 4-10 is 3.9%.
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A total of 1,929,850 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, with an additional 456,100 doses allocated to federal government partners for long-term care facilities, bringing the total number delivered in Illinois to 2,385,950.
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The IDPH says that vaccine distribution numbers are reported in real time and vaccine administration numbers are delayed up to 72 hours.
The IDPH reports that a total of 1,549,108 doses of vaccines have been administered, including 226,974 in long-term facilities. The seven-day moving average of vaccinations administered is 56,094.
Chicago and area counties will not extend 1B eligibility
While the state as a whole may be expanding who is eligible to be vaccinated in group 1B, the city of Chicago and none of the collar counties will follow suit.
“We have administered the vaccine as quickly as the supply allowed,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “And now we are in the same situation as Los Angeles County, where we will temporarily close some sites because we have exhausted our current supply of vaccines. While other parts of the state may be ready to move on to the next phase, Chicago and Cook is not. “
“Expanding that space would really result in our healthcare providers, our seniors, our essential front-line workers facing even greater difficulty getting vaccinated, and we think our public is already frustrated enough,” said Mark Pfister, CEO. from the Lake County Health Department. and Community Health Center.
“We do not have an adequate supply with current Phase 1b eligibility. Now, it will be much more difficult to meet demand without a significant increase in vaccine availability,” said Will County Health Department Executive Director Sue Olenek .
“The DuPage County Health Department is still working to understand the governor’s announcement. The Illinois Department of Public Health shared that it will update its vaccination plan with additional details this weekend. Currently, we are focused on vaccinating 270,000 people who are already in Phase 1b, in addition to healthcare workers in 1a who have not yet had a chance to get vaccinated, “the DuPage County Health Department said in a statement.
“We have not made any determinations at this time,” the Kane County Health Department said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH expanded Group 1B to those 16 and older with underlying comorbidities and conditions as defined by the CDC. Additionally, Illinois will also prioritize people with disabilities, all beginning February 25, even as IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike acknowledged that supply remains a problem.
The governor, however, insisted that he remains optimistic that supply will increase in the coming weeks, especially with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is expected to be approved by the end of the month.
“It’s a one-dose vaccine,” Pritzker said. “It will be a breakthrough in the world of vaccines and it will help us enormously to get vaccinated.
High-risk categories covered in the expansion include:
-Chronic kidney disease
-COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
-Immunosuppressed status of a solid organ transplant
In a statement, the governor’s spokesman said the vaccine supply has already started to increase and that “the most medically vulnerable in our state should qualify for vaccination as soon as possible” in part because “this group includes a disproportionately large share of vulnerable people of color. “
But not among those included in group 1B are electricians, who were considered essential workers at the beginning of the pandemic and who have worked in hospitals, airports, airfields, water treatment plants and even helped build a makeshift hospital in McCormick. Place.
“We have not missed a beat and we have been working every day,” said Donn Finne, IBEW Local 134. “We have had many COVID-19 cases in our membership and we have had deaths in our membership.”
Finn said Local 134 has had multiple conversations with the governor’s office and thought they were making progress on a conference call Wednesday, but that was not the case.
“You’re telling me that 12,500 electricians shouldn’t be included in that, since we’ve been doing our job since day one, I don’t believe that,” he said.
Pritzker said he understands their frustration, but supply remains a big problem even though he said Illinois has administered the fifth-most vaccines nationwide.
“We have a long way to go, no question, for everyone to get vaccinated, but that’s something everyone in Illinois should know that things are going in a positive direction,” Pritzker said.
Local 134 said it should include its members, a union that helped the governor get elected.
Governor Pritzker Visits Elgin Vaccine Site
Pritzker gave an update on vaccination efforts from the Elgin Center for Mental Health in Elgin Thursday morning.
The Elgin Department of Human Services immunization site houses many patients and has dozens of staff members. On Thursday morning, 50 patients and staff members received their second dose of the COVID 19 vaccine.
The expansion could nearly double the number of people currently eligible for the vaccine at a time when supplies are low, but the governor expressed optimism that deliveries from the federal government will increase significantly in the coming weeks.
“My administration will work with all local public health departments to include these highest-risk individuals in their community immunization plans in the coming weeks,” Pritzker said.
The deaths reported Thursday include:
– Clay County: 1 woman 80 years old
– Clinton County: 1 woman, 80 years old
– Coles County: 1 male, 60 years old
– Cook County: 1 30-year-old man, 1 40-year-old woman, 1 40-year-old man, 1 50-year-old woman, 4 50-year-old men, 6 60-year-old women, 6 60-year-old men, 7 70 years old, 7 men 70 years old, 7 women 80 years old, 7 men 80 years old, 4 women 90, 2 men 90
– DeKalb County: 1 90s woman
– DuPage County: 1 female 40, 3 male 70, 1 female 80, 1 male 90
– Greene County: 1 female 50 years old
– Grundy County: 1 male age 60
– Jefferson County: 1 male 80 years old
– Kane County: 1 male 60, 1 male 70, 1 female 90
– Knox County: 1 woman 80 years old
– Lake County: 1 male 50 years old
– Lawrence County: 1 male, 60 years old
– Livingston County: 1 male 80 years old
– Logan County: 1 90’s woman
– Marion County: 1 male 70 years old
– McLean County: 1 male, 60 years old
– Monroe County: 1 male age 70, 1 female age 90
– Moultrie County: 1 male 70 years old
– Randolph County: 1 male age 70
– Sangamon County: 1 female age 70
– St. Clair County: 1 female age 50, 1 female age 90
– Stephenson County: 1 male 80 years old
– Tazewell County: 1 female 40, 1 female 50, 1 male 70, 1 female 90
– Vermilion County: 1 male 70 years old
– Washington County: 1 90s woman
– Whiteside County: 1 male 60, 1 male 90
– Will County: 1 male 50, 1 male 60, 3 male 70, 1 female 80, 2 female 90
– Winnebago County: 1 90’s woman
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