IDPH Takes “Aggressive Action” in Expanding Vaccine Availability as Case Numbers Rise

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 26, 2021 at 6:42pm

IDPH is ramping up efforts to vaccinate more of the population after statewide metrics are beginning to tilt in the wrong direction.

The Illinois Department of Public Health authorized local health departments with low current demand to vaccinate all residents age 16 and older in what the department is calling aggressive action to address the first signs of a possible resurgence statewide.

IDPH says the move is aimed to address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates. 3,002 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by IDPH today. That is the highest daily total since early February. Governor J.B. Pritzker says with that in mind, eligibility is being expanded wherever possible in the state.

We have said to those providers, where they are seeing a slow down in demand because they have already done a significant portion of their population that has received a dose or both doses. We’ve allowed them to open up to everybody in their community 16 years old and older. Which is what we will do across the state on April 12th.

But in those areas, we didn’t want any doses sitting around. We want to make sure they get into people’s arms as fast as possible, especially if we are going to see an uptick here in the numbers. We want to avoid a surge.”

Since March 8, Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions. The COVID-19 test positivity on March 10 was 2.5%. Today’s reported test positivity is 3.3%. IDPH officials say while these rates are certainly significantly lower than the peak, they represent a potential early warning sign about a possible resurgence.

While Illinois is on pace to reach 70% first doses for residents 65 years and older in the coming days, IDPH is monitoring an increase in new hospital admissions for COVID, which will need to be appropriately addressed and resolved before moving into the Bridge Phase.

Health Departments in both Greene and Cass County announced today they are expanding eligibility for doses to anyone in the county age 16 and over.