Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Health, will receive her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the North Riverside Health Center on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (WTTW news)
In the 12 months since Illinois identified its first case of COVID-19, more than 1.1 million infections have been reported in the state, and 18,750 people have died after testing positive for the virus.
On the occasion of this gloomy anniversary, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, is all set to wear masks and take other measures to slow the spread of the virus, even as the state eases restrictions in many regions and moves into the next phase of its vaccination efforts.
Illinois reports more than 500 deaths and thousands of new infections every week, while new variants « can cause more infections and possibly even more deaths, » Ezike said in a three-minute video posted on Facebook on Sunday one year came after a Chicago woman became the first person in Illinois and the second person in the US to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.
« We need to focus on things that we know work », she said. « Vaccines won’t get us away on their own. There aren’t enough vaccines. They’re not coming in fast enough right now. »
According to the latest IDPH data, more than 680,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in Illinois, with about 136,000 people received both doses – 1.07% of the state’s population.
IDPH announced Saturday that limited indoor eating and drinking could resume in bars and restaurants in Chicago and the suburb of Cook County. This is a highly anticipated step in what the state calls Tier 1 of its reopening plan.
Tier 1 is also easing capacity constraints in retail stores and other businesses, expanding the size of indoor fitness classes, and allowing more youth sports, games, and exercise as appropriate restart the state rules.
To move to the next level of restrictions, referred to as Phase 4, a region must have an average test positivity rate of 6.5% or less for three consecutive days based on the moving Average of seven days, as well as no increase in COVID-19 hospital stays for seven of the last 10 days and more than 20% of the beds available in the intensive care unit and in the hospital according to the rules.
As of Sunday, the nationwide test positive rate according to IDPH was 6.0% – 7.1% a week ago.
« I know the truth is hard, but I don’t want Jan 24th u be here in 2022 and issue the same proclamation, « Ezike said on Sunday. « Let us all swear to do everything we can to minimize extra lives that are lost. »
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