Illinois COVID Update: Gov. Pritzker announces expansion in Phase 1B vaccine eligibility IL reports 2,825 new coronavirus cases, 53 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois health officials reported 2,825 new COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths Wednesday as Gov. JB Pritzker announced the expansion of Phase 1B eligibility in Illinois.

The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 1,152,995, with a total of 19,739 deaths, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Gov. Pritzker announced that Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC



Gov. Pritzker announced Wednesday that Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC. In addition, Illinois will also prioritize individuals with disabilities.

However, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement Thursday that the city and county would not be expanding Phase 1B eligibility.

"Doing so in Chicago and Cook County would add well over one million additional people to 1b, and the result would be that those currently eligible, including seniors, frontline essential workers and those in our most heavily COVID-burdened communities, would have an even harder time getting a vaccine," Lightfoot and Preckwinkle said in a statemen

The high risk categories covered in the expansion include:
-Cancer
-Chronic Kidney Disease
-COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
-Diabetes
-Heart Condition
-Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
-Obesity
-Pregnancy
-Pulmonary Disease
-Sickle Cell Disease

This expansion could nearly double the number of people currently eligible for the vaccine at a time when supply is low, but the governor expressed optimism that deliveries from the federal government will increase significantly in the coming weeks.

"My administration will be working with all the local public health departments to fit these higher risk individuals into their community vaccination plans in the coming weeks," Pritzker said.

RELATED: Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

The decision to expand phase 1B is welcome news to Sheila Harmon of Lynwood, who along with several relatives, has type 2 diabetes.

"It's allowing people to feel a little bit at ease, knowing that I'm eligible. I can get in line. I can go get the vaccine. Let me start looking," Harmon said.

"I'm definitely excited and relieved and happy to hear that it's becoming available for people that have conditions like mine," heart patient Nick Thielk said.

The move could add another nearly 3 million people to Phase 1B at a time when demand is far outpacing supply.

Chicago's public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwardy reacted to the announcement with caution.

"If we add additional people right now to 1B, all we do is make it harder for the people who are already eligible to get that vaccine," Dr. Arwady said.

In Chicago, officials didn't plan to include people under 65 with underlying conditions until late March at the earliest, with that group representing another 900,000 people in Chicago alone.

"We'll have some more conversations certainly with the state," Dr. Arwady said. "If they have gotten some assurance that there will be additional vaccine, and they could direct it toward Chicago, that would be very helpful in terms of us being able to more quickly move ahead."

Chicago has been receiving its own vaccine shipments from the federal government, separate from the state. And Dr. Arwady has said she doesn't expect those federal deliveries to increase significantly at least until early March.

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Illinois National Guard Major General Richard Neely says more than 500 National Guard members are part of the mission to vaccinate people in the state.



Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 82,885 specimens for a total of 16,822,385.

As of Tuesday night, 2,082 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 464 patients were in the ICU and 232 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Feb. 9 is 4.0%.

A total of 1,724,325 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago, with an additional 428,100 doses allocated to federal government partners for long-term care facilities, bringing the total number delivered in Illinois to 2,152,425.

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

IDPH reports that a total of 1,480,079 vaccine doses have been administered, including 223,790 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 55,135 .

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

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The deaths reported Wednesday include:

- Adams County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Bond County: 1 female 90s
- Carroll County: 1 female 70s
- Champaign County: 1 female 70s
- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 2 females 60s, 2 females 70s, 4 males 70s, 3 females 80s, 4 males 80s
- DeKalb County: 1 male 80s
- DuPage County: 1 female 70s. 2 males 70s
- Franklin County: 1 female 70s
- Grundy County: 1 male 80s
- Hamilton County: 1 female 80s
- Jefferson County: 1 male 70s
- Kane County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s
- LaSalle County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
- Lee County: 1 male 70s
- Macon County: 1 male 50s
- Massac County: 1 female 80s
- McHenry County: 1 female 90s
- McLean County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
- Ogle County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Peoria County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
- St Clair County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- Stephenson County: 1 male 80s
- Vermilion County: 1 male 80s
- Will County: 1 female 60s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
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