CHICAGO — The state and city officially moved into the Bridge Phrase on Friday, easing up on some business restrictions.
Though another 49 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 during the past day, new cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations have declined in recent weeks. For the first time in weeks, Chicago reported an average of fewer than 400 new cases Thursday — meaning the city is now only considered “high risk” instead of “very high risk.”
That means officials are looking at how to open up — with an eye at a full reopening in mid-June.
Some of the rule changes under the Bridge Phase:
- Bars and restaurants: Can now operate within their regular liquor license hours and reopen standing areas at 25 percent capacity.
- Social events: Indoor events can have up to 250 people, and outdoor events can have up to 500 people.
- Spectator events: 60 percent capacity.
- Amusement parks: Can increase capacity to 60 percent, up from 25 percent during Phase 4.
- Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: 30 people per 1,000 square feet. It was 15 people per 1,000 square feet during Phase 4.
- Meetings, conferences and conventions: Lesser of 1,000 people or 60 percent capacity.
Read the full rules under the Bridge Phrase here.
Officials are rushing to vaccinate as many people as possible in Chicago and across the state, as vaccines have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. But vaccine demand has fallen sharply.
There could be an uptick in vaccinations now that everyone 12 and older is eligible to get the shots in Illinois, though. City-, county- and state-run sites are administering the shots to people in that age group.
The majority of Chicagoans and Illinoisans are not fully vaccinated, though: Only about 4.7 million people — or 36.81 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots.
Officials are looking at ways to make it easier to get the shots and ease people’s concerns.
The state is helping community groups host vaccine events. Health departments are bringing vaccinations to workplaces, including Downtown office buildings. The city has said it’ll bring vaccine vans to festivals and other events.
“We are focused on bringing vaccine to people instead of people needing” to go somewhere to get vaccinated, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a Monday morning news conference.
People getting vaccinated is still the best bet for ending the pandemic, reopening businesses and having the world return to normal, officials have said. More people getting vaccinated also means there are fewer chances for variants of COVID-19 to develop and spread, which would endanger people and pose a threat to reopening efforts.
“The quickest way for life to return to normal is for more people to get vaccinated,” Ezike said.
The state is requesting fewer vaccine doses from the federal government due to the drop in demand, Gov. JB Pritzker said.
There’s still a high risk for spreading COVID-19 among unvaccinated people.
And people continue to get sick and die from COVID-19. Officials have urged people to take precautions — like wearing a mask, staying socially distant and getting vaccinated — to ensure there’s not another surge and people can stay safe.
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The most recent coronavirus victims included 14 people from Cook County, including five people in their 50s.
At least 22,369 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,356 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 1,841 cases over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,363,507.
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Across Illinois, 72,767 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 10,229,330 vaccine doses of the 12,730,155 provided to them.
City data shows 2,207,300 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans in the city, and 2,357,639 doses have been administered in the city overall. About 47.6 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot, while 36.6 percent have completed their vaccination. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, about 68.4 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 58.6 percent have finished their vaccination.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity fell to 2.5 percent Friday with 83,624 tests reported. It was at 2.7 percent Thursday. 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, fell slightly to 3.1 percent Friday. It was at 3.2 percent Thursday.
As of Thursday night, 1,708 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 425 people in the ICU and 237 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, seven deaths and 369 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,263 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 280,910 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of five deaths per day, down from seven per day the week prior.
An average of 388 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 21 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 5 percent since a week ago.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 3.8 percent, down from 4.5 percent the week before.
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