COVID-19 vaccinations will continue in full force this week. All 102 counties in the state have now received at least one shipment of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Doses have been given directly to frontline healthcare workers as part of Phase 1A of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed, which will affect about 5% of the country’s population. Phase 1B will likely begin next month which will go to people of all ages with comorbid and underlying health conditions that put them at significantly higher risk and older people living in congregate living and long-term care facilities.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said last week that despite the roll out of the vaccines, people need to stay vigilant about precautions from COVID-19: “50% of people who are spreading this virus are doing it without any symptoms, without even knowing they’re sick, so when you have a gathering with people outside of your household you are increasing the chance of you spreading the virus to someone else or them spreading it to you.”
Adams says that with the current holiday season, a possible surge due to large gatherings spreading the virus may overrun hospitals while the vaccine is rolling out: “That full ICU, it’s full because there are COVID patients pushing it over the top, but that means if have a heart attack there might not be room in the inn. It means if you get in a car wreck on an icy road, they may not have a bed for you.”
Adams commended the state last week for having numbers trend in the right direction after the Thanksgiving holiday. Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported today 156 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday and 5,742 confirmed and probable infections. The state also reported 4,352 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 with 928 of those in intensive care units.