Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 1,795 new coronavirus cases, 24 deaths; vaccine shipments from federal government impacted by weather

IDPH says state hasn't received most COVID vaccine shipments from federal government, likely due to weather
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 1,794 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with 24 deaths.

IDPH is reporting a total of 1,166,717 total COVID-19 cases, including 20,057 deaths.

As of Tuesday night, 1,719 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 375 patients were in the ICU and 176 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Feb. 10-16 is 3.4%.

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A total of 2,029,675 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 2,474,875.

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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 1,903,942 vaccine doses have been administered, including 256,114 at long-term facilities. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered is 60,552. Monday 40,380 doses were administered.

The winter weather has impacted both vaccine delivery and appointments in Illinois, especially the Chicago area. IDPH said while their weekly allocation of vaccine from the federal government this week was 365,000 doses, they've only received about 55,000 of them so far this week. The CDC has indicated some shipments may go out today, according to health officials.

Around 20,000 less doses of vaccine were administered this Tuesday compared to last week. IDPH said that "weather will most likely contribute to reduced vaccinations over the next several days."

Since the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in America are two-dose vaccines, the number of appointments - already scarce to begin with - are expected to dramatically decline in the coming weeks for anyone looking for their first shot.

IDPH said limited vaccine supply and the need to reserve existing doses for those needing to get their second shots necessitates the decrease.

Because Chicago and suburban Cook County get their vaccines directly from the federal government, and not the state, they are not being affected by the reduction. Weiss Hospital in Uptown has been operating a three-day-a-week vaccination clinic, which Monday hosted a President's Day vaccination spree for CPS teachers and staff getting ready to return to in person learning. They said their clinic will not hold back any doses.

The city's health department said while supplies remain extremely tight, there will be a slight increase in the number of first doses received in Chicago this week. None of Tuesday's clinics are affected by the winter storm.

Based on federal projections of vaccine shipments IDPH said they expect the shortage of first doses to continue into March.

Walgreens began vaccinating those eligible against the disease last week. They are prioritizing healthcare workers, those over 65 and those with preexisting conditions. Earlier this week, Walgreens' site crashed when individuals who wanted the vaccine rushed to sign up.

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

DuPage County's health department said Wednesday it will not expand who is eligible to get shots under the state's 1B guidelines. There simply isn't enough vaccine.

The state had been giving the county about 14,000 new doses per week.
But this week, that number is expected to fall below 2,500.

Because of that, DuPage County will not offer shots to people ages 16 to 64 with co-morbidities, and will instead focus on previously-eligible residents.

The plan is to move forward when 60 to 70-percent of that current group is vaccinated.

DuPage County also reported its first case of the UK COVID variant.

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Chicago expands indoor dining

City of Chicago is expanding indoor dining on Tuesday.

The expansion now allows bars, restaurants and events to offer indoor service at either 40% or 50 people.

The move comes as the city has made significant progress in the fight against the COVID-19 virus, city officials said.

Other regulations will remain in place to ensure the increase in patrons does not cause a backslide in cases.

Table size remains limited to no more than six people, alcohol service must end at 11:00 pm, establishments must close for on-site service by midnight and food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service.

Twin Anchors has been a fixture in the Old Town neighborhood for nearly 90 years. Known for their ribs, in the pre-pandemic days it was not unusual for customers to wait several hours for a table. But under COVID dining restrictions, they have been barely scraping by.

"We are down 40 percent in sales," said owner Mary Kay Tuzi.

Tuzi said she had to lay off much of her staff when the pandemic started. But with the city's announcement, she will be able to hire back a couple more employees.

"Literally by adding 25 to 40% I can add 18 more shifts that I can provide for my staff," she said.

"This is a good step. An essential step to help restaurants survive," added Roger Romanelli, president of the Fulton Market district.

"This is really good news for our neighborhood restaurants in our 77 communities," said Sam Toia, President of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

But while the increased capacity will make a big difference for larger restaurants with more rooms, at the Wolcott Tap, a smaller neighborhood place, the owner said it will not likely allow many more customers.

"In order to keep tables 6 feet apart, this isn't going to make too much difference for us," said Lindsay Smith, Wolcott Tap.

While most restaurateurs say every little bit helps, they say their business model is based on 100 percent capacity. And they are hoping the city is moving in that direction quickly.

The deaths reported Monday include:

- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 5 males 60s, 2 females 70s, 5 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 3 males 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s
- DuPage County: 2 males 50s, 1 male 60s
- Lake County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 80s
- Whiteside County: 1 male 80s
- Will County: 1 female 90s
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