Pritzker outlines Phase 1B of Illlinois’ coronavirus vaccination plan, lowers ‘most vulnerable’ age to 65

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday announced guidelines for the next stage of COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the state, Phase 1B.

The governor also announced that the state is lowing the age of “most vulnerable” residents to 65 from 75.

“For people of color, multi-generational institutional racism in the provision of healthcare has reduced access to care, caused higher rates of environmental and social risk, and increased co-morbidities. I believe our exit plan for this pandemic must, on balance, overcome structural inequalities that has allowed COVID-19 to rage through our most vulnerable communities,” Pritzker said.

Phase 1B will begin when Phase 1A is substantially complete. It will include all Illinois residents age 65 years and older and “frontline essential workers,” as outlined by ACIP. In order to reduce COVID-19 mortality and limit community spread in Black and Brown communities, Illinois reduced the age eligibility in Phase 1B by 10 years from ACIP’s recommendation. Currently, the average age of COVID-19 death is 81 for White residents, 72 for Black residents and 68 for Latino residents.

All in all, Phase 1B totals approximately 3.2 million people throughout the state of Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 7,569 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 139 additional deaths.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 999,288 cases, including 17,096 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 80,974 specimens for a total 13,698,428. As of last night, 3,928 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 812 patients were in the ICU and 451 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from December 20, 2020 – January 5, 2021 is 8.4%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from December 30, 2020 – January 5, 2021 is 9.9%.

Pritzker also announced he would be extending the mask mandate for the state of Illinois for an additional 150 days as the state nears 1 million cases of COVID-19.

The original mask mandate established through an emergency rule to the Control of Communicable Disease Code expired Sunday, Jan. 3. However, a subsequent emergency rule was filed Jan. 4 and is in effect for 150 days.

Pritzker also condemned remarks made by Illinois Sen. Mary Miller (R), who invoked the name of Adolph Hitler at a rally in DC, saying, “Hitler was right about one thing. He said, ‘whoever has the youth has the future.'”

“Let me be clear: Hitler got nothing right. This reprehensible rhetoric has no place in our politics. Illinois cannot allow this to stand and must condemn this vile and evil streak in their party,” Pritzker said.

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