CHICAGO (WLS) — Officials are working on a new phased reopening plan as the state of Illinois set another vaccination record Monday, with the 7-day average now above 100,000 doses a day.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 1,997 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths on Tuesday.
It comes as Chicago is set to announce a March 29 start date for the next vaccination phase. In 1C, more essential workers are eligible – including those in hospitality, construction, law, banking and media – as are Chicagoans ages 16 to 64 with serious health conditions.
“Broadly speaking, if you have an underlying condition, you’re going to be able to get a vaccine in April or May,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, director, Chicago Dept. of Public Health.
Suburban county health departments have yet to announce a date for their next phase.
“As we have vaccine available, we will of course open up appointments to other groups,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.
And new details are emerging about how Gov. JB Pritzker is looking to further reopen Illinois. He is expected to announce how Phase 4 will be modified later this week.
It’s a plan that could hold good news for the hospitality industry and others, including people looking to finally have that wedding they have had to postpone during the last year.
WATCH | How Illinois’ new reopening plan could impact hospitality industry
Valerie Agosto and her fiancé Aristotle Ybarra are planning a wedding at the Danada House in Wheaton on May 13. If they have to be indoors, that would limit them to just 50 people, only half of their guest list.
“I’m hoping that we do lift that, that is something that I would love to see, turn around, just because it’s really important for my family to be there, and his family and just to be able to celebrate together,” Agosto said.
Gov. Pritzker and his team are still working on details for how Phase 4 can be modified, but industry groups have been bombarding the governor with suggestions – and vaccinations could be a key.
At Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe in Darien, the banquet halls have been lonely places this past year. The pandemic put a hold on things like wedding receptions that, aside from being a time of celebration, can be a big economic boost for the venue.
The governor’s modifications could allow for more people to gather.
“I think for the banquet hall, it’s a big deal because right now we can only have 50 people, and there’s so many weddings backed up that people want, they’ve been putting them off. I’ve had people that have postponed, four times already,” said Chuck Pine, Executive Chef Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café.
The governor is also strongly considering modifications that would allow conventions like the Chicago Auto Show and other conferences that have been canceled during the past year to happen, according to people familiar with the conversations. That would also be a boost for the hotel industry which has suffered greatly.
Several mayors’ organizations have also been pushing the governor’s team to consider adding the regional vaccination rate to the reopening plan metrics.
“Let’s say in DuPage County, we reach 25% of the population that’s vaccinated, you’ll see a corresponding decrease in the positivity rate, you’d see a corresponding decrease in ICU beds that are available,” said Darien Mayor Joseph Marchese.
On Friday, he formally pitched the idea to the governor’s office during a Zoom presentation on behalf of the Metropolitan Mayor’s Conference. He said they were in agreement.
“It provides hope to people to be able to look at something and say if we move to this level, we’re going to have this now,” Marchese said.
There continues to be no significant increase in federal vaccine deliveries. Next week’s combined allocation to Illinois and Chicago is just 1% higher than this week’s and 8% above last week’s deliveries, per CDC data.
IDPH reported a total of 1,212,110 COVID-19 cases, including 20,973 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of Monday night, 1,152 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 250 patients were in the ICU and 124 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 51,240 specimens for a total of 19,221,483since the pandemic began.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from March 9-15 is 2.6%.
A total of 4,982,225 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, with an additional 414,900 doses allocated to federal government partners for long-term care facilities, bringing the total number delivered in Illinois to 5,397,125.
IDPH reports that a total of 4,181,097 vaccine doses have been administered, including 356,427 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 102,564 .
The deaths reported Tuesday include:
-Cook County: 1 female 40s, 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 3 males 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
-DuPage County: 1 male 70s
-Madison County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s
-Ogle County: 1 male 60s
-Rock Island County: 1 female 70s
-St. Clair County: 1 male 60s
-Will County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s
-Winnebago County: 1 male 90s
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