COVID Illinois: Officials issue Easter warning; Aurora vaccination site converted to state-run facility

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- An Aurora mass vaccination site at a Carson Pirie Scott has been converted to a state-run facility Friday as health officials ask people to follow COVID-19 safety protocols on Easter Sunday.

The Aurora site is at the former Carson Pirie Scott store on Lake Street and one thousand vaccinations are planned for this weekend.

The timing of the now-state-run facility here in Aurora could not come at a better time as state officials say there is a recent rise in "COVID" cases and it shows no sign of slowing.

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Kane County health officials reminding residents about their holiday weekend gatherings. If you are getting together with family or friends this weekend, health experts say take advantage of the nice weather and head outdoors- keep your group small and follow the guidelines.

"They need to continue to practice these precautions, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing until everyone they are with is fully vaccinated," said Michael Isaacson, assistant director of community health for the Kane County Health Department.

In Aurora, the former Carson Pirie Scott store will now be a state-run facility with members of the Illinois National Guard taking the reins, helping more residents six days a week.

"It marks an opportunity to move from one level of vaccinations to exponentially grow into vaccinating more people every single day," said Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.

So far, over 220,000 residents in Kane County have been vaccinated. Officials say more contagious variants are becoming more prevalent. The need to get more supply is still great, especially as people slowly return to some kind of normalcy.

"You have to do it as cautiously as you can, you can't just go and, you know anywhere and without being cautious actually," said vaccine recipient Elvia Paredomes.

The state-run facility is available to more Kane County residents now, but it is by appointment only.

Officials say more contagious variants are becoming more prevalent and as more people get vaccinated. some may be letting down their guard...

"You don't want your Easter celebration to turn into a contact tracing event, you really don't," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. "Unless you've got a fully vaccinated group gathering, there still is a fair bit of risk."

Meanwhile, there are more concerns about vaccine supply after Johnson & Johnson reported a mix-up at a plant in Baltimore.

Chicago still expecting nearly 40,000 doses to arrive next week.

"I am concerned that potentially for the next couple weeks, we may get very little," Dr Arwady said. "I don't know yet."
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