Illinois coronavirus: Officials want to vaccinate more restaurant workers as restrictions lift



Cook County public health officials are serving COVID-19 vaccines to bar and restaurant workers as suburbs simultaneously follow Chicago’s latest round of relaxed coronavirus restrictions.

Mondays in May will be designated “catering days” at the county’s six suburban mass vaccination sites, Cook County Board Chairs Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday.

Anyone can sign up for a date or walk to six locations in Tinley Park, Matteson, River Grove, South Holland, Des Plaines or Forest Park. But the authorities want to vaccinate as many “essential heroes” of the hospitality industry as possible with an indoor capacity increasing to 50% or 100 people per room.

“Restaurant workers worked tirelessly, even as they were asked to move into new roles to meet new demands, even as hours were reduced, doors closed and their own livelihoods threatened,” said Preckwinkle. “Now we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and people are heading back to cafes and restaurants for a sense of normalcy and camaraderie that we have all dreamed of.”

According to the president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, Sam Toia, about 20% of the state’s restaurants will not survive the pandemic, closing about 5,000 businesses and leaving more than 100,000 out of work.

“We were the first sector to be closed, and we will probably be one of the last to reopen and really recover. Vaccinations are absolutely crucial to help reduce our COVID count and get our customers back to restaurants, ”Toia said.

The restaurant push comes as public health officials face their latest challenge in the pandemic with slowing demand for vaccines in Illinois.

“Most people who knew absolutely in advance that they wanted to be vaccinated were lucky enough to get one,” said Israel Rocha, CEO of Cook County Health. “Now we need to change hearts and minds to encourage people who have not yet made the decision to get vaccinated.”

Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr. joins Cook County Council Chairman Toni Preckwinkle and others in discussing the details of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan last December.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times File

Almost a third of all Illinois residents are fully immunized and about half have received at least one dose, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which reported that 107,689 more shots had were inflicted statewide on Wednesday.

But the state averages just 97,434 injections per day over the past week – the first time that rate has fallen below 100,000 in a month, and a 27% decrease from near all-time highs. of 133,000, the state reported two and half a week ago.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

The graph is not displayed correctly? Click here.

“It will be a tough climb, but we are determined to do all we can to get people immunized and remove barriers to access,” Rocha said.

As part of the effort, city officials announced that the Chicago State University mass vaccination site is now offering Johnson & Johnson’s unique vaccine in its drive-in, walk-in service. Pfizer photographs are also available.

Still, “we’re not out of it yet,” warned Preckwinkle.

In January, Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle receives a vaccine at the Tinley Park Convention Center vaccination site.

In January, Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle receives a vaccine at the Tinley Park Convention Center vaccination site.
Brian Rich / Sun-Times File

The state reported 3,394 new cases of the disease on Thursday, the most on a single day in about two weeks. They were diagnosed among 89,057 tests, bringing the average Illinois positivity rate to 3.5%. That figure is still down about 20% overall since April 12.

Authorities also reported that the disease killed 28 other residents, including a Cook County man in his 30s.

More than 1.3 million people have tested positive statewide in the past 13 months, and 21,927 of them have died.

For help finding a vaccination appointment in Chicago, visit or call (312) 746-4835.

For suburban Cook County websites, visit or call (833) 308-1988.

To find suppliers elsewhere, visit or call (833) 621-1284.



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