Chicago Positivity Rate Hits Low, United Center Vaccine Site Closes – NBC Chicago

Chicago Positivity Rate Hits Low, United Center Vaccine Site Closes – NBC Chicago

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One county in the Chicago area holds the highest percentage of residents vaccinated against COVID-19 in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Chicago is seeing the lowest positivity testing rate since the pandemic began, according to the city’s top doctor.

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Chicago-Area County Holds Highest COVID Vaccination Rate in Illinois, Data Shows

One county in the Chicago area holds the highest percentage of residents vaccinated against COVID-19, while an area in downstate Illinois has the lowest number vaccinated.

DuPage County has 55.33% of its population vaccinated against COVID-19, which compares to the 47.58% in Chicago and 50.84% vaccinated in Cook County, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Meanwhile, Alexander County, one of the southern-most areas of Illinois,14.22% of its residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which is the lowest reported percentage statewide.

Here’s where the Chicago area stands in terms of vaccinations:

  • Chicago: 47.58%
  • Cook County: 50.84%
  • DeKalb: 40.72%
  • DuPage County: 55.33%
  • Grundy: 39.83%
  • Kane: 45.80%
  • Kendall: 47.62%
  • Lake: 47.52%
  • LaSalle: 40.83%
  • McHenry: 46.03%
  • Will: 46.06%

As of Thursday, Illinois reported a case positivity rate of 0.6% and test positivity rate of 0.8% average over the last seven days, data shows.

Chicago Positivity Rate Lowest Since Start of Pandemic, City’s Top Doc Says

Chicago is seeing the lowest positivity testing rate since the pandemic began, according to the city’s top doctor, as well as some ZIP codes recording no COVID-19 cases.

As of Thursday, the city reported a 0.5% testing positivity rate, according to date from the Chicago Department of Public Health, meaning about one in nine people are diagnosed with COVID-19.

“There are starting to be ZIP codes where we are not seeing cases of COVID. That’s new for us, right,” Arwady said. “We still have plenty of COVID in the city, but certainly compared to where we were, we’re starting to see going some weeks without COVID — and in some of the zip codes, which is which is exciting.”

Arwady added that she is encouraged by the latest data as Chicago sees COVID cases down 33% from one week prior, with an average of 40 daily cases. Similarly, IDPH data showed Thursday that hospitalizations were down by 58% over the last seven days.

“With the full reopening, this is really encouraging to see,” Arwady said. “Again this exponential decay of our reproduction number is nice and low. And things have been continuing to look good.”

Read more here.

White Sox Set to Host ‘Reopening Night’ as Ballpark Returns to 100% Capacity

The Chicago White Sox will open up Guaranteed Rate Field to full capacity on Friday night, and the team has some special giveaways and prizes for fans in honor of the big night.

Friday’s game has been dubbed “Reopening Night” by the White Sox, with first pitch against the Seattle Mariners set for 7:10 p.m.

Here is what you need to know about the big night.

United Center Mass COVID Vaccination Site Closes

The United Center’s mass COVID vaccination has closed, with Thursday marking its last day administering shots as Chicago shifts its vaccine strategy away from the major sites to a more hyperlocal focus.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and CDPH’s Assistant Commissioner Christopher Shields announced the closure during a Facebook Live broadcast Tuesday morning.

“United Center on this Thursday the 24th will provide its last vaccination and then we will return the property back over,” Shields replied.

Arwady and Shields said Tuesday that the United Center site, which opened March 9, has administered more than 301,000 doses of vaccine.

The city health officials highlighted the accessibility elements of the site that they said made it a success, noting that the site took into consideration feedback calling for a drive-thru option as well as accessibility for those with disabilities and on-site translators.

About 62,000 of the vaccine doses administered were to those who used translators, equating to roughly one in every five vaccinations.

The mass vaccination site at the United Center opened on March 9 under a federal pilot program and run by a coalition of federal, state and local officials. Originally slated to be open eight weeks, the site remained open for more than 15 weeks.

The site has operated seven days a week and had the ability to administer 6,000 shots per day at full capacity, officials said, with the initial doses provided from the federal government separate from the city or state of Illinois’ vaccine allocation.

Officials Push for More COVID Vaccinations as Delta Variant Continues to Spread

Doctors say there is increasing evidence that the new “delta” variant of coronavirus is spreading across the United States, and public health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated in hopes of preventing a surge in new COVID cases.

The delta variant, which scientists believe may be the most aggressive and contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus that has been seen, has been tracked in Chicago, and is continuing to spread.

“We are seeing it grow here in Chicago. We’ve had at least 70 cases detected here already,” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said.

The delta variant is now making up an estimated 20% of new COVID cases throughout the nation, according to officials.

“I think we definitely should be concerned about it,” Dr. Temitope Oyedele, infectious disease physician at Cook County Health, said. “It is a strain of the coronavirus that has shown to be more transmittable.”

Cases of the variant, even more contagious potentially than the alpha variant that swept through the United Kingdom and is likely the most prolific-strain in the state of Illinois, are roughly doubling every two weeks, a trajectory that has some officials worried.

Oyedele says that the only way to combat the delta variant is to vaccinate more residents, giving the virus fewer avenues of transmission.

Chicago Giving Away 1-Day Passes to Lollapalooza as COVID Vaccine Incentive

The city of Chicago is giving away 1,200 one-day passes to Lollapalooza to people who get vaccinated against COVID-19 at one of four select vaccination sites on Saturday.

Each of the four sites will give out passes for a specific day of the music festival, the city announced Tuesday. The sites and their corresponding days are:

  • Wilbur Wright College: passes for Thursday, July 29
  • Richard J. Daley College: passes for Friday, July 30
  • Kennedy King College: passes for Saturday, July 31
  • Malcolm X College: passes for Sunday, August 1

In order to get a free Lollapalooza ticket, those getting vaccinated must make an appointment here. The city noted that only confirmed appointments will be accepted at each site, advising those who sign up to check that their appointment has moved from “pending” to “confirmed” ahead of their appointment.

All four sites will be administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with appointments only available to Chicagoans ages 18 and older.

Each of the vaccination sites will also be “transformed into a Lollapalooza experience” on Saturday with DJs playing music from artists performing at the festival as well as giveaways, the city says.

Those who get vaccinated on “Lolla Day” will also receive entry to a free show featuring an unnamed Lollapalooza artist at the House of Blues on July 10, where the Lollapalooza passes will be available for pickup. In order to get their passes, attendees must bring their CDC vaccination card as well as a matching photo ID to the House of Blues.

The city said individuals who are already vaccinated against COVID-19 are also eligible for free one-day passes, noting that a link will be posted on the Chicago Department of Public Health’s website and social media channels on Sunday.

Read more here.

Chicago Opens In-Home COVID Vaccination Program to All Residents 12 and Up

Chicago officials on Tuesday opened the city’s in-home COVID vaccination program to all residents ages 12 and up, with $50 GrubHub gift cards to be given as an incentive to those who use the program.

Residents can register for the program on the city’s website or by calling (312) 746-4835. Appointments are available immediately and the gift card distribution will begin June 28.

“Vaccination is the best step to protect your family and your community from COVID-19, and we are grateful to Grubhub for their donation,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement.

“Now families can be vaccinated together at home and then enjoy a home-delivered restaurant meal. It’s easy and it’s effective—and a great way to celebrate together,” she added.

Those who choose the in-home vaccination will be given a choice between the Pfizer vaccine (for ages 12 and older) or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (for 18 and up).

Up to 10 people can be vaccinated per household, the city said, with gift cards limited to one per household.

Read more here.

What to Do If You Lost Your COVID Vaccine Card

Lost your COVID vaccine card? Don’t worry, Chicago’s top health official says – there are other ways you can get and show proof that you’ve been vaccinated.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday that the question of what to do if you’ve lost your COVID-19 vaccination record card is the city’s “number one question” of its frequently asked questions.

“A couple things: Number one, you can go back to your provider,” Arwady said. “So if you’ve got it at your doctor’s office, if you got it at your pharmacist, they’re not going to give you a new card. Those are held tightly, but they will give you a printout and something that will be valid, where you are needing to show your proof.”

“You can also email [email protected],” Arwady continued.

“If you got vaccinated through a city of Chicago site or at the United Center, we will, again, send you a PDF of your proof of vaccination, or if you got vaccinated somewhere else, it is recorded in the state registry, we will look that up for you and get you those results,” she added.

Arwady noted that the state of Illinois is working on a way for residents to be able to securely access their own vaccination records to eliminate the need for health officials and other third-parties to serve as intermediaries.

“That vaccine card, of course, is your own proof, but more importantly – in a secure way that is only shared with public health – that record is there and it remains valid for if you need to show proof,” Arwady said.

Read more here.

University of Illinois to Require COVID Vaccine for Students at All 3 Campuses This Fall

Students at the University of Illinois’ three campuses will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine upon returning in-person for the fall semester, the university’s president announced in a systemwide email Monday.

The move falls in line with recommendations by the American College Health Association and follows vaccine mandates introduced at other Illinois higher education institutions including DePaul University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

The campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield will each institute safety measures and separately unveil vaccination guidance later this summer.

Those who aren’t vaccinated will be required to follow university guidelines and established exemption protocols, University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen explained in the email to students, faculty and staff.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 928 New COVID Cases, 65 Deaths, 211K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois on Friday reported 928 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus since Monday, along with 65 additional deaths and more than 211,000 new vaccine doses administered.

In all, 1,388,688 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,133 confirmed COVID fatalities.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests is now down to 0.6%, while the seven-day positivity rate on individuals tested stands at 0.8%.

Over the past five days, a total of 211,440 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to state residents. That brings the state’s average to 42,153 daily vaccination doses over the last seven days, according to IDPH data.

State officials say 53% of adult residents in the state are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with nearly 70% receiving at least one dose.

As of midnight, 492 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID in the state. Of those patients, 123 are in intensive care units, and 69 are on ventilators.

Illinois Offering $10M in Lottery for Residents Who Get COVID Vaccine

A new vaccine lottery in Illinois will offer a total of $10 million in total prize money to residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.

The “All In for the Win” lottery will give out the $10 million in the form of $7 million in cash prizes for adults and $3 million in scholarships for youth, all distributed through weekly drawings, Pritzker said.

The Illinois Lottery will draw names each week beginning July 8, Pritzker said. The cash prizes will range from $100,000 to $1 million, he said, while children can win a Bright Start college savings plan worth $150,000 apiece.

Anyone who gets at least one vaccine dose in Illinois is eligible to win, Pritzker said, noting there are “no sign-up, no forms, no waiting in line” and that anyone who gets their first dose before July 1 will be eligible for the first drawing on July 8 and every drawing thereafter.

“You did your part already, and this is a way of saying thank you,” Pritzker said. “It’s also our way of saying to those who haven’t yet been vaccinated: please join us. Vaccines are incredibly effective. And they keep you protected, but they also make your community safer.”

What Pritzker Says Concerns Him About the COVID Delta Variant

As federal health officials issue new warnings about the coronavirus delta variant, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed what concerns him most about the new strain: that children under 12 cannot yet get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“What I’m concerned about is that we don’t yet have a vaccine for kids under 12 years old, and the delta variant seems to have been predominant among people who are unvaccinated,” Pritzker said when asked about the variant at an unrelated news conference.

“And so those kids are who I’m focused on,” he continued, adding, “25% of the cases I’ve now read, of the new cases of COVID, are coming from that age group, under 12, and so we’re keeping a close eye on it. But so far anyway, it appears that the available vaccines are resistant to the delta variant.”

Read more here.

COVID Vaccines Come to “L” Stops Across Chicago, City Says

COVID-19 vaccination sites are expected to start popping up on Chicago’s public buses and “L” stops to make vaccines more equitable to all areas of the city, health officials announced Thursday.

From 3 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays, vaccines will be available at the following “L” stops:

  • 95th/Dan Ryan station: Red Line
  • Belmont station: Blue Line
  • 35th/Archer station: Orange Line
  • 63rd/Ashland station: Green Line
  • Kedzie station: Pink Line

From 3 to 6:30 p.m. Fridays, vaccine will be available at the following “L” stops:

  • 95th/Dan Ryan station: Red Line
  • Belmont station: Blue Line
  • 35th/Archer station: Orange Line
  • 63rd/Ashland station: Green Line
  • Kedzie station: Pink Line

No States on Chicago’s Travel Order for Second Consecutive Update

For the second consecutive time since Chicago’s emergency travel order took effect in July, there are no states on the list requiring a quarantine or negative test for people coming to the city who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

All U.S. states and territories remain in the “yellow” tier of the travel order as of Tuesday, with fewer than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

Any states above that case rate would fall into the “orange” tier which requires a 10-day quarantine or negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago for those who are not fully vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, no states in the Midwest were above 4.8 cases per day per 100,000 residents, CDPH said, releasing the following data showing how each state’s case rate has fallen in the past two weeks:

State Cases per 100,000 on 6/1/2021 Cases per 100,000 on 6/15/2021
Indiana 7.9 4.8
Michigan 7.9 2.6
Illinois 7.3 2.7
Wisconsin 4.3 1.8
Iowa 3.7 2.5

Chicago officials also noted that the city’s daily case rate dropped “considerably,” from 14.9 to 2.8, between May 7 through Tuesday.

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