Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » To address new spike, Illinois expands eligibility and vaccines in targeted areas - Ezike warns state can’t move forward “if our metrics are going backward” - 3,002 new confirmed and probable cases; 33 additional deaths; 1,302 hospitalized; 264 in ICU; 2.9 percent average test positivity rate; 3.3 percent average case positivity rate; 99,449 average daily doses
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To address new spike, Illinois expands eligibility and vaccines in targeted areas - Ezike warns state can’t move forward “if our metrics are going backward” - 3,002 new confirmed and probable cases; 33 additional deaths; 1,302 hospitalized; 264 in ICU; 2.9 percent average test positivity rate; 3.3 percent average case positivity rate; 99,449 average daily doses

Friday, Mar 26, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Illinois Taking Aggressive Action to Address First Signs of Possible Resurgence

IDPH Authorizes Local Health Departments with Low Demand to Vaccinate Residents 16+ as Federal Projections Show State Expected to Receive 1 Million Doses Next Week

Rapid Response Vaccination Teams to Deploy to Areas Seeing Upticks to Accelerate Vaccine Administration

State Hasn’t Met Metrics for Bridge Phase Reopening as Hospitalizations and Cases Increase in Chicago, Cook County, and Region 1 (Rockford area)

To address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates, the State of Illinois is launching Rapid Response Vaccination Teams to five counties and expanding vaccine eligibility where demand appears to have waned.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has seen vaccine demand slow in several counties throughout the state, with early signs of unfilled appointments and increased vaccine inventory. IDPH is authorizing those communities to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older at their immediate discretion, in order to use the vaccine doses they currently have available.

“Recent increases in hospital admissions and test positivity are concerning new developments and we don’t want to go down the same path we’ve seen before and experience a resurgence in the pandemic, which is why Governor Pritzker directed us to use all our resources to halt these upticks,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “We cannot move forward if our metrics are going backward. The vaccine will help get us to the end of the pandemic, but we need to continue to reduce spread of the virus by wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds, keeping six feet of distance, getting tested after seeing others, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Expanded Eligibility

The federal government is projecting that Illinois will receive nearly 1 million doses next week for distribution, an all-time high. Steady vaccination operations are the best tool to keep Illinois residents safe. Reductions in demand result in inventory that could be unused, and all inventory should be used as quickly as possible to protect residents.

Residents should contact their local health department to learn whether they have expanded eligibility.

“The number one goal for the state is to get as many people vaccinated, as quickly and safely as possible in order to stay ahead of variants,” Dr. Ezike said. “This shift is similar to what we saw when expanding vaccine eligibility from Phase 1B to Phase 1B+ where some parts of the state were ready to move forward, while others were not. Each county is different and local health departments know better how to vaccinate people in their communities as soon as and as equitably as possible.”

While all communities will continue to receive their baseline allocation of doses, new doses above that baseline will be allocated to high-demand areas where at-risk eligible residents face long waits for appointments.

Rapid Response Vaccination Teams

To bend the trend in a region seeing increased vulnerability and protect vulnerable residents, several teams are being deployed for rapid operations.

Mobile rapid response vaccination teams will deploy over the next two weeks in five counties in Region 1 where IDPH epidemiologists have determined there is a need to administer doses quickly to blunt increasing trends. These doses are on top of the allocation to the local health departments. These mobile teams will be providing single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to county residents. Appointments will be coordinated by the local health department.

Residents of Region 1 are also encouraged to visit the existing mass vaccination site set up in Winnebago County.

Bridge Phase Update

Since March 8, Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions. The COVID-19 test positivity on March 10 was 2.5%. Today’s reported test positivity is 3.3%. While these rates are certainly significantly lower than the peak, they represent a potential early warning sign about a possible resurgence.

Chicago has seen its daily case rate increase by nearly 50% since last week, along with six days of increases in test positivity. Suburban Cook County has seen its daily case rate increase more than 40%, along with nine days of increasing hospital bed usage. Region 1, the Northern portion of the state including Rockford and surrounding communities, has seen eight days of increasing hospital bed usage and six days of increasing test positivity.

To advance into the Bridge Phase that is the final step before the full reopening, the entire state must achieve several metrics:

    • 70% of residents 65 years and older must have received a first dose;
    • Hospitals must maintain 20% or greater ICU bed availability;
    • Hospitalizations for COVID-19, admissions for COVID-like illness and deaths must hold steady or decline over a 28-day monitoring period.

As outlined in the March 18 update to the Restore Illinois plan, IDPH will evaluate statewide performance against the metrics by looking back at the data from the preceding 28 days.

While Illinois is on pace to reach 70% first doses for residents 65 years and older in the coming days, IDPH is monitoring an increase in new hospital admissions for COVID, which will need to be appropriately addressed and resolved before moving into the Bridge Phase. IDPH epidemiologists will continue to focus on the most recent 10 days to monitor any acute trends that prevent the state from reaching the Bridge Phase.

Statewide reopening metrics can be found at

Information regarding vaccination locations as well as details on how to book an appointment to receive the vaccine can be found at the state’s COVID website, Residents who don’t have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open 7 days a week from 6am to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish.

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 3,002 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths.

    - Cook County: 1 teen, 1 male 40s, 1 female 60s, 2 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
    - Johnson County: 1 male 60s
    - Kane County: 1 male 70s
    - Lake County: 1 male 60s
    - LaSalle County: 1 male 70s
    - Lee County: 1 male 60s
    - Macoupin County: 1 female 60s
    - Madison County: 1 male 30s, 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
    - Marshall County: 1 female 30s
    - McLean County: 1 male 90s
    - Peoria County: 1 male 60s
    - Sangamon County: 1 male 80s
    - St. Clair County: 2 males 60s, 2 females 80s
    - Will County: 1 male 70s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,232,900 cases, including 21,203 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 76,774 specimens for a total of 19,972,391. As of last night, 1,302 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 264 patients were in the ICU and 120 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from March 19-25, 2021 is 2.9%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from March 19-25, 2021 is 3.3%.

A total of doses of 6,146,815 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 414,900 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 6,561,715. A total of 5,281,618 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 364,302 for long-term care facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 99,449 doses. Yesterday, 126,710 doses were reported administered in Illinois.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. Information for deaths previously reported has changed, therefore, today’s numbers have been adjusted. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email


  1. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    Dr. Ezike still hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate? She is still an acting Director? Why?

  2. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    ==State Hasn’t Met Metrics for Bridge Phase Reopening as Hospitalizations and Cases Increase in Chicago, Cook County, and Region 1 (Rockford area)==

    They need to add Region 2 (Peoria/Bloomington/Galesburg/Quad Cities) to the list of targeted areas fast. Positivity rate there now at 3.9%.

    Maybe also instead of Bridge phase we should reconsider pausing Phase 4 for a while too.

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===Dr. Ezike still hasn’t been confirmed ===

    Two-year term. Renominated this week.

  4. - Mary - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:18 pm:

    Now that people are back to planning trips in Illinois (and other States), closing down hotels, bars and restaurants in Illinois now might prove problematic to the state’s future tourism dollars. We probably should focus on improving the speed and quantities of mass vaccinations.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===improving the speed and quantities===

    Read the release. Part of the problem is people not signing up.

  6. - Mary - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:23 pm:

    ==Part of the problem is people not signing up.==

    I agree, but isn’t that a reason to consider expanding eligibility sooner?

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===isn’t that a reason to consider expanding eligibility sooner?===

    Again, read the post.

  8. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    I think they jumped the gun on some of the reopening and revising. It is going to take time to get enough people vaccinated.

  9. - Pundent - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    = It is going to take time to get enough people vaccinated.=

    Particularly as it appears we’re running up against individuals who don’t seem all that interested in ares where supply is outpacing demand.

  10. - Anotheretiree - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:11 pm:

    The cases stopped going down in the U.S. over a week ago. Something is going on. Anecdotally, I finally got the shot this week. Waited for three hours at the Orr building for a leftover dose. Saw lots of elderly streaming in. At 64 I still don’t qualify so we are behind the virus. Friend had two relatives drive down from Chicago Sunday to go there for shots.

  11. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:13 pm:

    I’m glad to hear about the mobile vaccine clinics. It’s the final mile of delivery that needs to be solved. And that should eliminate the hang-up of appointments too.

    I know scheduling is a problem in some areas. But I’ve helped people in my area who said they couldn’t get one - and I got them one scheduled as soon as they asked me too… Point being I think some folks have heard its too much trouble to schedule one so they don’t even try.

    This is now going to be a door to door fight in many places. Lets go get it done.

  12. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    ==The cases stopped going down in the U.S. over a week ago. Something is going on. ==

    Most likely much of the latest case spike is the after effects of all the St. Patrick’s Day, and start of both spring and March Madness, revelry.;

  13. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:29 pm:

    With the weather getting better and indoor dining back most (all?) places, I just think most of the public has decided worrying about Covid is over.

    I know several people on out of state trips for spring break right now.

    1/2 price margarita night at one of the local Mexican restaurants has a line out the door packed with college kids.

    When you have this surge of social activity combined with the more contagious variants there is no surprise that cases would go up.

    Just hope myself and my loved ones can be fully vaccinated before one of these more social folks infects me.

  14. - Publius - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    I think at this point things have to start opening up. We don’t have to be like Texas and many other states and just get rid of all the rules. However being gradual about it and expanding eligibility is key. People are going to go out and travel so hopefully as many as possible can be vaccinated.

  15. - Manchester - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 1:53 pm:

    I’ve read that variants are becoming more widespread and scientists believe they will be dominant sometime in April. We may be seeing the effect of that now. Also, I have noticed that as cases went down and restrictions relaxed, people have become more lax in their precautions. I was grocery shopping in Springfield this morning and noticed other shoppers without masks, masks below their nose, and masks removed to use the phone. I know we’re all weary of this but now is not the time to let down our guard. Also, please get the shot as soon as you are eligible.

  16. - Served - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:00 pm:

    We saw this pattern in October, and the timeframe from opening to spike is almost identical.

    Loosening restrictions leads to an increase in cases, both in the “controlled” settings, and in the wild, as people take the easing as a sign that other behaviors are also safer.

    We have missed the balance at this time, and need to correct at both levels until vaccinations can catch up.

  17. - The Dude Abides - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:03 pm:

    I know some people who aren’t stupid by any means who are delaying getting vaccinated. Others are anti vaccine folks who don’t want any part of the vaccine. If everyone would get vaccinated we’d get back to normalcy sooner. Everything I’ve read says that our vaccines provide good protection against the various mutations of the virus. A lot of the same people complaining about restrictions are the same folks passing on getting vaccinated. It’s really frustrating.

  18. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:05 pm:

    If only 27%of the staff of DOC took vaccine when offered I would imagine getting state even up to herd immunity may be a chore. It could be vaccines are not being used in certain areas because people just do not want it

  19. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:08 pm:

    Imagine fighting a war alongside reckless compatriots and leaders. That’s what’s happening with states reopening too soon, and all the anti-mask, anti-vax types everywhere. Florida reports over 5,700 cases today. Thankfully in Illinois we have leaders who are fighting the war using expert guidance and trying to save lives.

  20. - Moe Berg - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:28 pm:

    ==The cases stopped going down in the U.S. over a week ago. Something is going on. ==

    There’s something happening in the northeast: CT, MA, NJ, NY, PA, RI are in the red on the Covid tracking maps. A week ago, Michigan joined them.

    Coupled with the rising cases in IL, looks very similar to how the spread unfolded last spring.

    It’s likely the variants, especially the UK version.

    We’re in a real race against the variants and may be sandbagged by the vaccine resistant and refusant.

  21. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 2:37 pm:

    Reopening and relaxed restrictions were far too early, with entirely predictable results. Adding to the no-maks crowd just makes it easier for Covid to spread. 55 and at-risk, not even trying to schedule anything yet because I’m not in the current eligibility-of-the-week guidelines, and because there are those far more at risk who haven’t gotten vaccinated yet.

  22. - Enviro - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 4:45 pm:

    First dose Covid-19 vaccine appointments are not available now in Chicago suburbs. Without the vaccine we are being optimistic to think there will be an end to this pandemic.

  23. - Pundent - Friday, Mar 26, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    =I think at this point things have to start opening up. We don’t have to be like Texas and many other states and just get rid of all the rules. =

    Yeah. Well here’s the problem with that approach. It only encourages the unvaccinated to go out and continue to spread the disease. At this stage the decision to open up should be directly tied to the percentage of the population that’s been vaccinated. It will help encourage those that are holding back the economy to get their act together.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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