Illinois COVID-19 Update: Region 5 moves to Tier 1 mitigations as IL reports 5,343 new cases, 130 deaths

Lake County Health Department to open drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois health officials reported 5,343 new COVID-19 cases and 130 deaths Saturday.

The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 1,064,667, with a total of 18,179 deaths, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker gives latest on vaccines, restrictions, new variant on Jan. 15, 2021


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Gov. JB Pritzker gave the latest on COVID-19 in Illinois Friday.



Region 5 moves to Tier 1



The southern region of Illinois, Region 5, has reentered Tier 1 state mitigations effective immediately, IDPH announced on Twitter Saturday.



Health officials said the region has met the COVID-19 health metrics to ease mitigations. This comes just a day after Gov. Pritzker announced Regions 1, 2 and 5 would move down to Tier 2. All other regions of the state are continuing to operate under Tier 3 mitigations, according to health officials.

Under Tier 1, all bars and restaurants must be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Indoor services will also be allowed, however, at a capacity of 25 guests or less, or 25% capacity per room. Establishments offering indoor service must also serve food, according to IDPH.

Indoor service reservations must be limited to a 2-hour max with a maximum of four people per party and is recommended to only be with members of the same household.

All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables, and must not be ordering, seating or congregating at the bar as bar stools should be removed.

Tables must also be six feet apart and reservations should be required for each party. No seating of multiple parties at one table, including at private clubs or country clubs.

Patrons are not allowed to be standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting. There is also no dancing or standing indoors under Tier 1.

Meetings, social events and gatherings are limited to 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity, both indoors and outdoors. This does not include students participating in in-person classroom learning or sports.

Sports should follow mitigation measures set forth in all sport guidelines and face coverings must be worn at all times in fitness centers, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing.

Recreation, fitness centers and outdoor activities (not included in the above exposure setting) must continue to follow Phase 4 guidance.

Region 5 includes Alexander, Bond, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, HArdin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson counties.

Lake County Health Department to open drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site



The Lake County Health Department announced Saturday they plan to open a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations site at the county fairgrounds.

The vaccination site will open January 18 and will be available by appointment only for those in Phase 1A, which includes healthcare workers, and long-term care facility residents and staff.

In order to receive a vaccine from the Lake County Health Department, you must register on the AllVax Portal website. When the health department receives a shipment of vaccine doses, a limited number of people who are eligible to receive the vaccine will be notified to schedule their appointment through the AllVax system.

Anyone who lives or works in Lake County may sign up to be notified when it's their turn to be vaccinated. Those who may not have access to a computer are encouraged to call the AllVax support team at (847) 377-8130.

Illinois to move into vaccination Phase 1B in coming days



Gov. JB Pritzker laid out new information Friday on the rollout of the next phase of the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan.

The state will soon be moving to vaccination phase 1B, which includes essential workers and people 65 and older.

First responders, like police and firefighters; corrections officers; food and agricultural workers, like those at food processing plants; grocery store workers, public transit employees, like flight crews and bus drivers; educators, such as teachers and school staff members; along with workers at shelters and adult day care would all fall under Phase 1B.

Hundreds of sites will be set up to vaccinate more than three million people in that group.



Four and a half weeks into Illinois' vaccine rollout, the state is averaging just 27,000 doses given per day.

While that figure is expected to rise, at the current rate it would take two and a half years for all Illinoisans to get the required two doses.

The governor is blaming slow federal distribution.

"I don't think they know which end is up," he said Friday.

But amid criticism, the state has been slow to move to the next vaccine phase.

Officials announced phase 1B will begin January 25 for people 65 and older, as well as some essential workers.

"We are working to get the vaccine that is delivered to Illinois into the arms of people as quickly and as equitably and as effectively as possible," said Illinois' top doctor, Ngozi Ezike.

To vaccinate the more than three million people in 1B, the state is partnering with hundreds of pharmacies, urgent care clinics, doctors' offices and workplaces where shots will be given by appointment only.

Retail pharmacies, like Walgreens, will be part of the plan. The governor also said other retail sites will join in, but he said do not call these retail stores yet, as a state website is being set up first.

"We will launch the Illinois COVID-19 vaccination administration plan website, giving everyone the ability to find a nearby vaccination site and information about how to make an appointment," Pritzker said.

Officials also said the Illinois National Guard will set up two vaccination sites in suburban Cook County, similar to what it did with testing.

"Patience will be required in these first weeks of phase 1B because vaccine supplies are just extremely limited," Pritzker said. "The first two guard teams are deploying to two Cook County health sites, and we have nearly two dozens more National Guard teams ready to come online in the weeks ahead as vaccination supply increases."

However, with Illinois administering less than 45 % of doses it's received, some said the state's efforts have been underwhelming.

"I was very disappointed to hear that it's going to take ten more days before we start vaccinating 1B because I know there are several other states where they have been vaccinating the 1Bs now for some time," said Professor Hani Mahmassani, director with Northwestern University's Transportation Center. "I'll believe that there is a plan when there is a website where we can actually all register."

The governor said a website is in the works and will be up and running before Jan. 25 with appointment and vaccination site information, but it is still unclear is how the state will verify the age and employment status of those who sign up.

4 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the General Assembly in Springfield



At least four people have been confirmed Friday to be COVID-19 positive following the General Assembly in Springfield.

The spokesperson for the Illinois speaker of the House said the IDPH is reporting three COVID-19 positive cases at the Bank of Springfield Center where the Illinois House met this past week.

The spokesperson for the Senate President Don Harmon said there is one positive COVID-19 case in the Capitol Complex, where the Illinois Senate met.

The affected person was not on or near the Senate floor for the inauguration and did not come into contact with any guests of the Senate Democratic Caucus, according to a press release. It also stated that the affected person did not come into contact with any of the witnesses who testified before the Executive Committee or members of the press.

Thursday night, members of the Illinois General Assembly were asked to quarantine and be tested following notice of a possible positive COVID-19 test on the Capitol Complex.

Eased Restrictions



In a press conference Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the majority of Illinois regions are making good progress.

Regions 1, 2 and 5 will move down into Tier 2 of resurgence mitigations immediately, and most others are expected to move down a tier in the coming days if current trends continue.

Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties; Region 2 includes Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties; and Region 5 includes Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson counties.

Tier 2 allows the return of group fitness classes, low-risk youth sports and the reopening of museums at limited capacity.

Indoor dining and bar service is not allowed in Tier 2, or even in Tier 1, and with the holidays behind us, there are renewed calls to lift that restriction.

RELATED: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to begin reopening restaurants for indoor dining

"I feel very strongly that we are very close to a point where we should be talking about opening up bars and restaurants," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

But the state said Chicago and Cook County do not yet meet the metrics to ease restrictions.

Lightfoot said she would talk to the governor about restaurants and bars reopening.

Four Lake County restaurants are planning to welcome back customers Friday for indoor dining against state orders, part of a growing trend in the Chicago area.

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Some Lake County restaurants are reopening indoor dining, defying Illinois' COVID-19 restrictions.



Pritzker said Friday it appears the careful reopening of bars and restaurants likely will not lead to a resurgence once regions reach Tier 1.

Restaurants and bars in Regions in Tier 1 can open indoor dining with capacity limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity. Additionally, establishments must serve food and indoor tables must be limited to no more than four people, with reservations limited to two hours. Outdoor dining regulations remain unchanged.

He also said hundreds of vaccination sites will be brought online in the coming weeks, in an effort to expand COVID-19 vaccine access.

Phase 1A of Illinois' COVID-19 vaccination plan is on track to be substantially completed next week, Pritzker said, with the entire state moving to 1B on Jan. 25.

In accordance with local progress, IDPH has permitted local health departments who have already substantially completed their 1A populations to move forward with 1B in order to leave no vaccine on the shelves.

United Kingdom COVID-19 strain found in Illinois



The first case of the COVID-19 strain first identified in the UK has been found in Illinois, health officials said Friday.

Evidence suggests that this variant can spread more easily than most currently-circulating strains of COVID-19, but there is no evidence that the new strain affects the sensitivity of diagnostic tests or that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. In addition, data suggest current vaccines will be effective and safe in providing protection against the variant.

RELATED: UK COVID-19 variant found in Chicago, scientists say
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Scientists confirmed that out of 200 recent COVID-19 patients, they found one with the UK virus variant in Chicago.



"This news isn't surprising and doesn't change our guidance around COVID-19. We must double down on the recommended safety strategies we know help stop the spread of this virus," CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "In order to protect Chicago, please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, do not have outside guests in your home, and get vaccinated when it is your turn."

CDPH, IDPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with various public health agencies, are closely monitoring this strain.

"When we learned of this and other COVID-19 variants, we increased our surveillance efforts by performing genomic sequence testing on an increased number of specimens," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

A follow-up case investigation by CDPH found that the individual had travelled to the UK and the Middle East in the 14 days prior to the diagnosis. CDPH has worked to identify close contacts of the individual to reinforce the importance of adherence with quarantine and isolation measures.

In response, Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr made the following statement:

"With Chicago's first confirmed case of the U.K. COVID-19 strain, we should assume the variant has already started spreading throughout our city.

It's a mistake to think we can start opening up again. Although vaccines are rolling out and a more robust federal response could be on the way, we are still several months away from vaccinating most of the public. In the meantime, to keep people healthy and save lives, we should not allow for high-risk activities like indoor dining.

This is a dangerous time for our city and state, and preventing unnecessary deaths must remain our top priority. Finding the new U.K. variant in Chicago means to stop the spread of the virus, we should redouble safety efforts, not ease them."


The discovery of the variant in Chicago comes as the global death toll from COVID-19 tops 2 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The milestone was reached just over a year after COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

It took eight months to hit 1 million dead and less than four months after that to reach the next million.

WATCH: Dr. Robert Citronberg gives latest on COVID-19


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Dr. Robert Citronberg gave the latest on COVID-19 Friday morning.



Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 102,372 specimens for a total of 14,667,148.

As of Friday night, 3,406 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 711 patients were in the ICU and 379 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

RELATED: Illinois coronavirus testing: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Illinois, Chicago area

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Jan. 9 - 15 is 7.5%.

The test positivity rate is a metric the state began providing in late October. It is calculated by using the total number of positive tests over the total number of tests. This is the metric being used to by state health officials to make decisions about mitigations.

Find out how many people may get a COVID-19 vaccine before you

As of Friday night, 781,150 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, with an additional 268,525 doses allocated to federal government partners for long-term care facilities, bringing the total number delivered in Illinois to 1,049,675.

IDPH Director Ezike gets COVID-19 vaccine


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Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike gets the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.



IDPH reports that a total of 471,157 vaccine doses, including 62,778 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 24,506 .

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

Deaths reported Saturday include:

- Adams County: 1 male 70s
- Bureau County: 1 female 80s
- Carroll County: 1 female 80s

- Champaign County: 1 male 70s
- Christian County: 1 male 50s
- Clay County: 1 female over 100
- Coles County: 1 female 90s
- Cook County: 1 male 20s, 1 female 30s, 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 2 males 50s, 3 females 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 5 females 80s, 7 males 80s, 8 females 90s, 1 male 90s
- Crawford County: 1 male 70s
- DeKalb County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 70s
- DeWitt County: 1 male 60s
- DuPage County: 1 male 20s, 1 female 50s, 1 female 70s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s
- Franklin County: 1 female 60s
- Fulton County: 1 female over 100
- Hancock County: 1 female over 100
- Henry County: 1 female 70s
- Iroquois County: 1 female 90s
- Jefferson County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s
- Jersey County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
- Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- Kankakee County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
- Kendall County: 1 female 80s
- Lake County: 1 male 20s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
- Macon County: 1 male 80s
- Madison County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s
- McDonough County: 1 female 80s
- McHenry County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
- McLean County: 1 female 90s
- Mercer County: 1 male 80s
- Monroe County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s
- Montgomery County: 2 males 50s, 1 male 80s
- Morgan County: 1 male 60s
- Ogle County: 1 male 80s
- Peoria County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 90s
- Pike County: 1 male 60s
- Randolph County: 1 female 70s
- Rock Island County: 1 male 80s
- Sangamon County: 1 male 50s
- St. Clair County: 2 females 60s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- Vermilion County: 2 males 70s
- Will County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
- Williamson County: 1 female 80s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
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