Coronavirus live blog, April 11, 2021: Illinois’ troubling upward trend in coronavirus cases continues as state vaccinates residents at record pace

Here’s the latest news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois.

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5:00 p.m. COVID-19 cases on the rise as Illinois continues to dole out vaccines at record pace

Illinois is seeing a troubling upward trend in coronavirus cases as the state continues to vaccinate residents at a record pace.

State health officials on Sunday announced 2,942 new and probable COVID-19 cases and an additional 16 virus-related deaths.

The new cases were detected among 69,600 tests processed by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day. That keeps the statewide seven-day positivity rate at a 10-week high of 4.2%.

Illinois is averaging about 3,204 new cases each day this month, up sharply from the first 11 days of last month when the state recorded a daily average of 1,610.

The state has also seen an uptick in coronavirus hospitalizations over the last month. As of Saturday night, 1,834 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients — a 23% increase from last week. Of those, 409 were in intensive care units and 173 were on ventilators, officials said.

The rise in cases comes as Illinois is vaccinating more people than ever.

Read the full story from Madeline Kenney here.

4:24 p.m. Third straight record-breaking COVID-19 vaccination day sends Illinois shot total past 7 million

CV_UPDATE_040921_02.jpg

People get doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at Cook County’s Forest Park Community Vaccination Site at 7630 Roosevelt Rd. in Forest Park, Thursday morning, April 8, 2021.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

After a third straight record-breaking COVID-19 vaccination day for Illinois, more than 7 million shots have now gone into arms statewide, officials announced Saturday.

A total of 175,681 doses were administered Friday, surpassing the state’s previous high set a day earlier by more than 11,000 shots, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Almost four months into the unprecedented nationwide vaccination effort, the state’s overall shot tally is up to 7,047,326.

From that figure, only about 2.8 million residents have been fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks removed from their final dose. That’s still just shy of 22% of the population.

But Illinois is vaccinating more people per day than ever, with an average of almost 123,000 shots administered daily over the past week.

Read the full story from Mitchell Armentrout here.

11:31 a.m. “Virtually” entire White Sox traveling party receives COVID-19 vaccine

The White Sox are almost completely vaccinated.

The team announced Sunday that “virtually the entire White Sox traveling party” received a shot following Thursday’s home opener. The vaccines, which were optional, were the Johnson & Johnson version that only requires one injection.

Sox general manager Rick Hahn said over 90% of the traveling party was vaccinated. Though, at this point, the Sox have not reached the 85% threshold because not everybody at the Schaumburg alternate site has been inoculated. When a team reaches the 85% threshold, MLB will relax safety protocols.

Read the full story from Brian Sandalow here.

10:17 a.m. Gage Park Latinx Council brings care, healing to hard-hit community

Over the past year, Gage Park has topped the charts when it comes to COVID-19 cases and positivity rates — not just in Chicago but across the state.

Even worse, a lack of health care infrastructure and resources on the Southwest Side left many Gage Park residents on their own.

That’s when the Gage Park Latinx Council decided it had to do something.

The grassroots organization was formed three years ago to address systemic issues facing the Gage Park community. Last year, it finished converting a vacant storefront at 2711 W. 51st St. into a new cultural center to better serve the neighborhood. With the pandemic, the council pivoted to deal with different challenges, finding a way to help Gage Park residents help each other, said Antonio Santos, co-founder and executive director.

One in seven people in Gage Park has tested positive for COVID-19. Positivity rates in the 60629 and 60632 ZIP codes, which include Gage Park, have recently been as high as 7%; the citywide average is at 5.4%.

The council recently partnered with Esperanza Health Centers to open a vaccination site in Gage Park, and Santos said the group has helped hundreds of residents sign up for appointments.

Given that 92% of the neighborhood’s population identify as Hispanic or Latino, Santos said the council, run by longtime Latino residents of Gage Park and Chicago’s Southwest Side, has become an important unifier amid the grief and loss.

“For us, community care and mutual aid means using our strengths and our identities to guide the work and trusting the folks whom we serve,” Santos said. “All of us involved in this organization are young people that grew up and still live in this community.”

Read the full story from Isabelle Sarraf here.

9:09 a.m. PEAK program spotlights teens navigating COVID life, racial unrest, remote learning

Myasia Madkins is your average teen navigating COVID-19 life, racial unrest and remote learning, challenges faced by many youth this past year.

Separated from school last March by the pandemic, Myasia, 17, and other Catholic high-schoolers, returned to a hybrid learning system last fall.

She and half the student body at Holy Trinity High School attend classes in person Tuesdays and Fridays; the other half, Mondays and Thursdays. Students attend virtual classes the other two days. Wednesdays are reserved for teacher meetings, catching up on work, etc.

It’s the hybrid system 26,000 Chicago Public Schools teens will embark on when grades 9-12 return to in-person learning this month.

Myasia’s journey spotlights the challenges weathered by many youth this past year.

I was introduced to the South Shore teen last summer, when Katherine Rush, executive director of the Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids, emailed a poem Mayasia wrote in the wake of protests following the killing of George Floyd.

The Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in Floyd’s death is currently on trial.

Protests that began peacefully and grew violent had ravaged communities like Myasia’s.

“Chicago, So what happened to the Covid-19 concern? Did the daily death totals suddenly disappear? ... Now there is a curfew in Chicago! The National Guard called in! Looting in neighborhoods with unnecessary bloodshed to follow. Fires set! So now when will it be about George Floyd?” Myasia’s poem read in part.

Read the full story from Maudlyne Ihejirika here.


New Cases & Vaccination Numbers

  • More than 7 million shots have now gone into arms statewide.
  • A total of 175,681 doses were administered Friday.
  • Officials reported 3,630 new cases of the disease were diagnosed among 84,478 tests, keeping the state’s average positivity rate at 4.2%.
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