CHICAGO — After months of demand outpacing supply when it came to the COVID-19 vaccine, Chicago Public Health officials announced Thursday anyone who wants a vaccine in the city should now be able to get one.
“As of now, we have enough vaccine,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Thursday livestream. “If you want a vaccine in Chicago, you can absolutely get one. You can get one today. No excuses.”
Arwady said doses have been pouring in from the state and the federal government, and she encouraged anyone 16 or older to sign up on ZocDoc or by calling the city’s hotline at 312-746-4835.
And starting Friday, you can even get an impromptu vaccine.
“Beginning tomorrow, because we are seeing so much availability we are opening to some walk-up availability,” Arwady said.
This means a certain number of vaccine will be set aside daily for walk-up vaccinations at all mass vaccination sites, including the United Center, Chicago State University and the American Airlines Conference Center near Wrigley Field. Cook County mass vaccination sites in Matteson, Summit and Tinley Park are also open to walk-in appointments.
While walk-up appointments will be available, Arwady said signing up in advance is preferred and would reduce any potential lines. Either way, she said there’s no longer a reason to wait to get vaccinated.
“I don’t want to hear, ‘I can’t find a vaccine,’” Arwady said, adding there were dozens of appointments available on ZocDoc as of Thursday afternoon.
Going In The Right Direction — But Vaccine Essential
Another 33 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus over the past day. Thirteen of the victims were from Cook County, including a man who was in his 30s.
At least 21,755 people have died from coronavirus in Illinois, and another 2,301 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state also saw 3,170 cases reported over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,312,722.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 3.8 percent Thursday with 88,336 tests reported. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.
Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, held at 4.4 percent Thursday.
As of Wednesday night, 2,147 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 511 people in the ICU and 238 people on ventilators.
Cases in Chicago are “higher than we’d like them to be” as well, Arwady said.
In Chicago, six deaths and 620 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There had been at least 5,122 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 271,175 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day, unchanged from the week prior.
An average of 631 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 13 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 3 percent since a week ago.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 5.4 percent, down from 5.8 percent the week prior.
Arwady said she’d like to see Chicago get to fewer than 200 cases per day to be on the right track. Vaccinations — along with wearing a mask in public — will get us there, she said.
“The most important thing you can do to drive those numbers down is get vaccinated and make sure everybody you know is getting the facts and getting vaccinated,” Arwady said.
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