Illinois COVID Update: Moderna vaccine shipments to IL delayed by weather; state reports 1,966 new cases, 72 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 1,966 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday, with 72 deaths.

IDPH is reporting a total of 1,168,683 total COVID-19 cases, including 20,129 deaths.

As of Wednesday night, 1,655 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 386 patients were in the ICU and 184 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

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The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Feb. 11-17 is 3.3%.

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Weather continues to cause vaccine delivery delays from the federal government. The state said it is in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies to understand the logistical challenges and if there is anything Illinois can do to expedite getting vaccine.

Moderna vaccine shipments to Chicago have not been delivered this week because of the winter storms in the region, causing appointments at clinics across the city to cancel or postpone vaccination shots, said Chicago's top doctor on Thursday.

"We are hopeful that Moderna will be able to ship out today, meaning we would expect it to get here tomorrow, but it could be Monday, right," Dr. Allison Arwady of the Chicago Department of Public Health said on her Facebook Live feed Thursday morning. "More snow today. I think in a lot of ways, especially the out-patient centers, are doing a lot of rescheduling over the next week or two."

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A total of 2,106,800 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 2,552,000.

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

In McHenry, an 87,000 square foot former Kmart is now a mass vaccination site, but there's not enough vaccine to put it to use.

"We've got the facility. We're ready. All we need are the doses," said McHenry County Chairman Mike Buehler.

Buehler is not the only county executive frustrated with the state's vaccine allocation, now made worse by the winter weather. Wednesday the state delivered only 4,300 doses to health departments and providers, compared to 73,000 the day before.

"Now, the federal government obviously with the latest couple of days of terrible weather across the nation, they've had a difficult time actually distributing the vaccine to the states," Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday.

But the issues go beyond weather. Will County said over the next three weeks the state is delivering far fewer first doses than expected.

"We were hoping to plan some more vaccination clinics into what we have now," said Steve Brandy, Will County Health Department public information officer. "We just can't do that right now, knowing now what we know about what's happening over the next few weeks."

Despite that supply crunch, state officials are moving forward with plans to expand phase 1b eligibility next week, though many counties have opted out.

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Moderna vaccines are shipped from Tennessee to Chicago, and Arwady said those shipments did not arrive Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

IDPH reports that a total of 1,977,033 vaccine doses have been administered, including 266,037 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 61,132. On Wednesday, 73,091 doses were administered.

At Innovative Express Care on the North Side, 60 doses of Moderna are in the facility's refrigerator. They have not received additional doses all week, as expected.

Given that, Innovative Express plans to cancel hundreds of vaccine appointments on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, officials said.

"We're going to send out about 200 text messages, emails and a voicemail, alerting people, but also giving them the link to rebook next week. So to me, we'll just do the right thing. We'll roll with it," said Dr. Rahul Khare of Innovative Express Care.

The problem? The winter weather this week. "We can't control the weather, that's just the way it is," Dr. Arwady said during the Facebook feed.
The Pfizer vaccine, Arwady said, comes from Kentucky. Since it needs ultra-cold storage, Chicago's health department and hospitals generally handle that vaccine.

Moderna is shipped from Tennessee to Chicago, and Arwady said those shipments did not arrive Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. She said people who need the second dose still have a window of opportunity, even if their appointments are impacted by the weather.

"No sooner than four days earlier than planned," Arwady said. "No later than six weeks later than planned. Hopefully that puts people at ease where we had to reschedule appointments."

Statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health expected 365,000 doses from the federal government this week. So far, the state health department has confirmed they've received about 55,000 this week, significantly less.

"Now the federal government obviously with the latest couple of days of terrible weather across the nation, they've had a difficult time actually distributing the vaccine to the states," Governor JB Pritzker acknowledged today.
Illinois is not alone. Across the country, 22 states have delayed or cancelled vacations this week because of the weather.

At Innovative Express Care, vaccine patients are relieved their appointments weren't impacted.

"They called me this morning to confirm, so I was really relieved when I got that phone call," said Michael Graham.

Steve Hamburg said severe Chicago weather is expected. Still, he was grateful to get the shot at his scheduled time. "Pretty happy, and I get my second dose on my birthday," he said.

Late Thursday afternoon, Innovative Express Care reported received an email from Chicago Public Health officials, confirming that no Moderna shipments would be delivered on Friday either. Instead, the next possible day for deliveries would be Monday, Feb. 22.

Gov. JB Pritzker visited a mass vaccination site in Illinois' Metro East region, near St. Louis, Thursday afternoon, calling it one of the most important in the state.

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Gov. Pritzker toured a Metro East COVID-19 vaccination site Thursday.

More than $280M from COVID relief funding went to CPD, new report finds

A new report found that Chicago spent a significant amount of COVID-19 relief funds on police. Some aldermen and community groups held a news conference Thursday morning to question Mayor Lori Lightfoot's allocation of the relief funds.

Chicago received $1.2 billion from the federal government for COVID-19 relief, more than $280 million went to the Chicago Police Department, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Lightfoot's office has not returned ABC7's request for comment.
The deaths reported Thursday include:

- Carroll County: - 1 female 90s
- Champaign County: 1 male 90s
- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 4 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 4 males 70s, 4 females 80s, 9 males 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 female 100+, 1 male 100+
- DeKalb County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 80s
- DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 2 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 3 females 90s
- Grundy County: 1 female 80s

- Hancock County: 1 male 70s
- Kane County: 2 males 60s
- Kankakee County: 1 male 70s
- Kendall County: 1 female 90s
- Lake County: 1 female 40s
- LaSalle County: 2 females 70s
- Macoupin County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Madison County: 1 female 70s, 3 females 80s
- McLean County: 1 male 30s
- Menard County: 1 male 80s
- Peoria County: 1 female 80s
- Rock Island County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 90s
- St. Clair County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
- Stephenson County: 1 male 90s
- Tazewell County: 1 male 60s
- Whiteside County: 1 male 40s
- Will County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Winnebago County: 1 male 30s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.
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