Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 2,022 new coronavirus cases, 44 deaths; 1B vaccine eligibility expands Thursday

No local health departments plan to follow Phase 1B expansion yet due to low vaccine supply
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,022 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 44 deaths on Wednesday as the state gets ready to expand who is eligible for the COVID vaccine.

But there's a catch: no local health departments are going to follow the state's guidelines because there aren't enough vaccine doses currently available.

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Multiple county health departments say it could be weeks before they're able to expand vaccine eligibility to people younger than 65 with underlying conditions, despite assurances from the state that supply will soon increase substantially.

Gov. JB Pritzker said federal deliveries to Illinois will increase to 100,000 daily doses by mid-March - nearly double what the state is currently managing.

"I encourage all of our local health departments, especially those not yet on pace for the expansion, to move as quickly as possible to broaden our reach in light of ever-increasing federal supply," Pritzker said.

But in Lake County, less than one third of people 65 and older has been vaccinated.

The county is adhering to CDC guidelines that say 60 to 70 percent of people in a current phase should be vaccinated before expansion, unless supply outpaces demand.

"We are seeing great demand, and I can tell you that every day I get emails from those 65 and above that are clamoring for their vaccination," said Mark Pfister, executive director, Lake County Health Dept.

In fact, on the eve of the state's 1B expansion, not one area county health department has announced when that move will happen.

"Really watching to see what the situation looks like in the next four to six weeks and then making a decision about how and when to expand to the next group," said Chris Hoff, DuPage County Health Dept.

In Chicago, it could be late March.

"I don't want to create expectations that we simply can't fulfill particularly when we still must focus on our elderly," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

There may still be some providers, including pharmacies, in our area that expand eligibility, but they have to receive vaccine directly from the state or federal government, rather than those counties.

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IDPH is reporting a total of 1,179,342 COVID-19 cases, including 20,374 deaths.

As of Tuesday night, 1,511 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 338 patients were in the ICU and 172 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

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Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 82,976 specimens for a total of 17,804,537 since the pandemic began.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Feb. 17-23 is 2.8%.

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A total of 2,584,125 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, with an additional 445,200 doses allocated to federal government partners for long-term care facilities, bringing the total number delivered in Illinois to 3,029,325.

The IDPH said that vaccine distribution numbers are reported in real-time and vaccine administration numbers lag by as much as 72 hours.

IDPH reports that a total of 2,310,929 vaccine doses have been administered, including 291,273 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 58,141.

The deaths reported Wednesday include:

-Cook County: 1 female 60s, 3 males 60s, 4 females 70s, 3 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
-DuPage County: 1 male 60s
-Ford County: 1 male 80s
-Henderson County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s

-Johnson County: 1 male 70s
-Kane County: 1 female 60s
-Kendall County: 1 female 70s
-Lake County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
-LaSalle County: 2 females 90s
-Macoupin County: 1 male 60s
-McHenry County: 2 males 80s
-Monroe County: 1 female 70s
-Saline County: 1 female 70s
-Stephenson County: 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
-Union County: 2 males 60s
-Will County: 1 female 70s
-Winnebago County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
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