The entire state moved into the “Bridge Phase” of the Restore Illinois reopening plan on Friday, May 14, according to Gov JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The Bridge Phase is the final step before the full reopening of Phase 5. Under Bridge Phase, there are expanded capacity limits for businesses, dining, offices, events, conferences and gatherings. Barring any significant reversals in key COVID-19 statewide indicators, including increasing hospitalizations, Illinois could enter Phase 5 as soon as Friday, June 11.
On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for masking which said fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor locations, with exceptions for public transportation, planes, hospitals, doctors offices and prisons.
In response, Pritzker tweeted, “I firmly believe in following the science and will revise my executive orders in line with CDC guidelines lifting additional mitigations for vaccinated people. The scientists’ message is clear: if you are vaccinated, you can safely do much more.”
More than 10.3 million vaccine doses have been administered to Illinoisans at mass vaccination sites, local health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, mobile clinics, and other locations across the state. Doctors’ offices are starting to administer vaccines to their patients. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now available to youth ages 12 through 17 years after the CDC on Wednesday accepted the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to expand the use of the vaccine.
According to IDPH, Montgomery County is nearly one-third fully vaccinated: 29.4 percent as of Sunday, May 16.
“If you have a child in that age range and would like to have them vaccinated, you can get their name on our list one of two ways,” the Montgomery County Health Department posted on its website. “You can call our office at 217-532-2001, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or you can email us your child’s name, date of birth, and the town they live in, to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 years of age and older.
“The more people who are vaccinated, now including our youth as young as 12 years old, the quicker we can end this pandemic,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “While more than 62 percent of adults in Illinois have received at least one dose of the vaccine, we still need more people to get vaccinated. Please talk with your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about the vaccine and know the facts so that you can make the most informed decision.”
Locally, the health department reported 19 new coronavirus cases May 9-14 for a total of 2,944 since the pandemic began. Montgomery County averaged 2.8 new cases per day during the first two weeks of May, only slightly above the 2.6 cases per day in April.