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Pritzker’s Daily COVID-19 Briefing Full Transcript And Audio — Jan. 11, 2021

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike held a COVID-19 press briefing today as cases and hospitalizations in Illinois reach record highs. Read and listen to the latest update from the governor’s office on new cases, phased re-opening and closings of different regions and the state’s ongoing pandemic response. You can watch the most recent press briefings at 2:30pm every day here on Illinois Newsroom.

Have a question about COVID-19? Ask Illinois Newsroom, and we’ll try our best to answer. The questions we receive from you directly inform the stories we tell and what we investigate. Let us know what you need to know!


Governor Pritzker

Good afternoon, everyone. Today Dr. Ezike and I want to provide another update on both our vaccination project progress and the ongoing mitigation efforts across the state of Illinois. First on vaccines, as of last night, approximately 587,900 total doses of the Pfizer and Madonna vaccines have been delivered to the state of Illinois 478,175 doses to public and private health care providers outside of Chicago and 109,725 doses to providers in the city of Chicago. As you know, the vaccination program for long term care facilities is a federally operated pharmacy Partnership Program, with CVS and Walgreens, the doses for which are removed from our state’s allocation before we receive the deliveries that I mentioned above. To date, the pharmacy partnership has acquired about 231,400 total doses to vaccinate staff and residents of these facilities, starting with skilled nursing homes. That breaks down to about 172,500 outside of Chicago, and 58,900. In Chicago, Illinois as a whole, including the city of Chicago and including the pharmacy Partnership Program has administered approximately 334,939 vaccine doses as of last night 36,867 by the local pharmacy partnership, and 298,072 out of the control of the state’s public and private health care providers. Starting tomorrow, Illinois latest vaccine numbers will be found on the IDPH website and will be updated daily. While Illinois reports to reports out to the CDC, like all states do. Their posting of the latest information about doses administered can be delayed. So our IDPH website will be the most up to date source of information about our vaccine distribution and administration on a daily basis.

As a reminder to all of you, according to CDC guidelines, health care providers are allowed to report vaccinations up to 72 hours after they have been administered. So there’s a significant time lag between vaccinations being actually administered and those that have been reported. In addition, vaccine doses that are distributed to Illinois, are reported immediately by the CDC. So there’s a mismatch on both the CDC and the IDPH website. Between vaccine doses distributed and vaccine doses administered. This is the case all across the country. To put this more simply, a vaccine dose that arrives in Illinois, may be administered on day one, but may not be reported until day two, day three or day four. Those are federal rules. To be clear statewide, we have made significant progress in phase one a, and I appreciate the hard work of health care providers across the state to move as quickly as possible through this phase. In some communities, they’ve been able to substantially complete phase one IDPH is allowing any local health department in that position to move into the early stages of phase one B, because we want to make sure any available vaccine is administered quickly to the priority groups that we’ve laid out. local health departments will communicate this information to the public as they move through their phase one a population.

But I want to urge patients, phase one B will take many weeks to complete. And if it’s not yet available in your area now, it’s because many counties aren’t through their one a population enough to move forward with the current pace of national vaccine development pipeline. I expect to make a formal announcement later this week on when Illinois will move into phase one be on a statewide basis. Of course anyone in phase one a who has chosen not to get vaccinated will nevertheless be able to ask opt in during any subsequent round. This is about leaving no vaccines sitting on the shelves as we move forward. So now I’d like to talk about mitigations. In other words, what we can do to keep everyone safe while we’re waiting for enough vaccine to be produced. tier three mitigations have been in effect across the entire state since November 20. And that has been an important factor in keeping hospital beds and ICU beds available at Illinois hospital systems through this year’s holiday season. This fall and winter have brought the United States to new all time records in hospitalizations, and in deaths. And Illinois has not been immune from that. But in large part because we acted before Thanksgiving with tier three mitigations. We in Illinois have seen the number of COVID Hospital patients and our positivity rates dropped by over a third since November 20. As hospitalization rates across the nation have continued to surge. That said, Our success is relative and it’s precious. We still have more than twice as many COVID patients in the hospital statewide than we did in the summer. And we’ve seen recent fluctuation in our case rates and test positivity that has stalled that downward trajectory by operating with consistent and meaningful mitigations throughout the holiday season. It’s my belief that Illinois has saved lives, brought down community risk, and set ourselves up to reduce these mitigations in a way that is both safe and smart. All that said ahead of the 15th when regions can begin to move to tier two or tier one according to their metrics.

I want to provide a brief reminder as to what these changes actually entail. This information, of course, can also be found online on the idph website@dph.illinois.gov slash COVID-19. since late November, all regions have been in tier three mitigations, the most stringent of the surge mitigations in response to exponential growth and COVID-19 infections statewide. I want to be clear that just as regions moved into mitigations with a data driven approach, beginning again on January 15, they can move to lower tiers of mitigations. And I’ll remind you about the three metrics that a region needs to meet in order to loosen up our two tier two mitigations. Although you can find metrics for each tier on the website that I mentioned earlier. Number one, a test positivity rate below 12% for three consecutive days, as measured by the seven day rolling average to account for any hiccups in the data and to greater than 20% available staffed ICU and general hospital beds for three consecutive days on a three day rolling average. And three, a decline in the number of people in the hospital battling COVID-19 for seven out of 10 days. Also on a seven day average. Remember that these metrics together give us a picture of community transmission risk and hospital availability to treat any influx of patients, which could include those in need of care because of COVID-19 or anything from car crashes, to heart attacks to critical surgeries. if things continue to improve in a region IDPH will reclassify that region according to tier two, tier one and back to phase four as they meet the necessary metrics. If we maintain adherence to mask wearing and social distancing, and make sure to get vaccinated when it’s your time, we will experience a robust recovery that I know we all look forward to. With that. I’d like to turn it over to our Director of the Department of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Doctor.


Dr. Ngozi Ezike

Good afternoon, everyone. And I think it’s still appropriate to say Happy New Year. I’m happy to be joining you here in Springfield. It was here in Springfield almost exactly a year ago when we announced the first COVID-19 case here in Illinois. And it’s been a long, challenging year, but the end is in sight. today. 4776 new individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of one million 33,526 cases in Illinois. Since yesterday, we have received reports of 53 individuals who have lost their battle with COVID. And that brings our total of lives lost in Illinois to 17,627 3540. individuals were in the hospital overnight with COVID-19. And of those 759 when the intensive care unit, and 401 were on ventilators.

In the last 24 hours, more than 66,000 COVID-19 test results have been reported for a total of more than 14 million tests statewide. We know that moving out of the mitigation tiers will require us to continue to wear our masks to continue to keep our distance and to continue to avoid large gatherings. And now we can add vaccination to the list of things we should do. While the number of vaccine doses that providers in Illinois receive each week remains quite limited. It is important for those who are eligible to receive the vaccine to avail themselves of all the information and hopefully decide to get vaccinated. vaccination is essential to us moving forward, but it only works if we actually utilize this critical resource.

I understand that people are hesitant about getting this new vaccine. They are concerned that it was developed quicker than ones we have seen in the past. However, I want to assure you that every step that is required for vaccine authorization was followed for the current COVID vaccine. The vaccines did go through rigorous clinical trials, in which 1000s of individuals were vaccinated and followed. No step in that process was skipped. The advancements we’ve made in science and technology have allowed us to reach this point, and we have safe and effective vaccines. As the vaccine becomes more widely available and the number of people who are eligible expands. I want to encourage people to share their vaccination experience by posting photos of them getting their shot and use the hashtag # VacsupIL. That’s hashtag #VacsupIL The more people see others getting vaccinated with the safe and effective vaccines. We hope that more people will roll up their sleeves and do the same again Don’t forget we want you to share that photo at #VacssupIL so the four steps to beating this pandemic are still wash up, backup six feet of distance mask up thank you.

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