ILLINOIS (WFIE) - On Thursday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced the plan to expand vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older on April 12.
Gov. Pritzker also announced a metrics-based pathway for Illinois to fully reopen.
Currently, every region of the state is in Phase 4 of the five-phase Restore Illinois mitigation plan, with Phase 5 comprising a post-pandemic normalcy as detailed here.
State officials say the newly announced metrics offer Illinois a bridge between the state’s current Phase 4 restrictions and the “new normal” operations of Phase 5.
They say this “Bridge Phase” will serve as a transition period with higher capacity limits and increased business operations, without prematurely embracing a reckless reopening before the majority of Illinoisans have been vaccinated.
Gov. Pritzker says all regions of the state will move through the Bridge Phase and ultimately to Phase 5, together.
The state’s mask mandate will continue in accordance with current CDC guidance.
State leaders say the bridge to Phase 5 allows for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations.
To advance into the Bridge Phase, officials say the entire state must reach a 70% first dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and over, maintain a 20% or lower ICU bed availability rate and hold steady on COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, mortality rate, and case rate over a 28-day monitoring period.
To advance to Phase 5, the state says they must reach a 50% vaccination rate for residents age 16 and over and meet the same metrics and rates required to enter the transition phase, over an additional 28-day period.
According to the governor’s office, to prevent a large increase in new COVID-19 cases, Illinois will revert back to an earlier phase if over the course of 10 days the state experiences an increasing trend in COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, a decrease in ICU bed availability, an increase in the mortality rate, and an increasing case rate.
In an update to current Phase 4 mitigations and the capacity limits of the bridge to Phase 5, state leaders say individuals with proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) 1-3 days prior to an event or outing, do not count against capacity limits.
As regulations are rolled back gradually in the weeks ahead, state leaders say Illinoisans should continue practicing public health guidelines, including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance.
The state is now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine was first made available in Illinois in December, the state has administered over 4.3 million doses.
You can watch Gov. Pritzker’s Thursday coronavirus update below.
Health officials with the Wayne County Health Department say they have recently started using Nixle to send reminders for second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
They say if you receive a message from 888777 with a date and time to come to the health department for your second vaccine.
They want to let residents know that the message is generated from them and is not a scam.
They also say Pfizer vaccines are available by appointment at the Walmart Pharmacy in Fairfield.
On Thursday, Illinois health officials reported 2,325 new coronavirus and 34 more deaths.
The state has now had 1,216,090 total cases and 21,022 total deaths.
According to the state’s coronavirus website, there are five new cases in Wabash County, four new cases in White County, and there’s one new case in both Wayne and Edwards counties.
There were no new deaths reported in our local counties.
Here is the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths reported in our area:
- Wayne County - 1,694 cases, 49 deaths
- White County - 1,637 cases, 25 deaths
- Wabash County - 1,308 cases, 12 deaths
- Edwards County - 535 cases, 12 deaths