Shipments of vaccine doses have been delayed in Chicago, across Illinois and around the country due to severe weather conditions, officials say.
Meanwhile, Chicago and suburban Cook County are again increasing indoor dining capacity at restaurants and bars.
Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state:
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.
Illinois Reports 1,348 New Cases, 32 Deaths, 40K More Vaccinations
Health officials in Illinois reported 1,348 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 32 additional deaths and more than 40,000 doses of vaccine administered the day before.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Tuesday’s new confirmed and probable case numbers lifted the statewide total to 1,164,922 cases since the pandemic began.
The death toll now stands at 20,034, according to IDPH.
Thousands of New COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Open in Cook County
A total of 5,000 first-dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments opened for Cook County residents at noon Tuesday, according to the Cook County Health Department.
Appointments can be made at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov. Those without internet access or who need assistance scheduling can call 833-308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Vaccinations at all Cook County Health sites are by appointment only. As of Monday, three large-scale vaccination sites were open: South Suburban College in South Holland, the Tinley Park Convention Center and Triton College in River Grove.
Additional vaccination sites throughout the county are expected to open in the coming weeks.
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.
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:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Heart Condition
- Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
- 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.