Senate committee to hold hearing on COVID-19 vaccine rollout
The graph shows the rolling, 7-day positivity rate for tests completed starting on June 1. Illinois Department of Public Health data was used to calculate the averages. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
Statewide positivity rate stays below 3.5 percent
By TIM KIRSININKAS
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s seven-day rolling average COVID-19 case positivity rate remained below 3.5 percent Monday while a state Senate committee announced it will hold a hearing regarding the state’s vaccination plan.
The statewide positivity rate stood at 3.3 percent Monday, marking the ninth consecutive day that figure has been below 4 percent. Public health officials reported 1,747 new and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 47,210 test results over the previous 24 hours.
The positivity rate has continued on a steady decline since Jan. 1, when it stood at 8.1 percent.
The state administered 64,469 COVID-19 vaccinations statewide over the weekend following a single-day record for vaccinations on Friday. As of Monday, the state has issued over 1.3 million doses, with 2.3 percent of the population having been fully vaccinated.
Illinois has ranked near the bottom of all 50 states in vaccines administered thus far, according to a New York Times database, leading some state lawmakers to call for increased transparency and a more effective process for allowing eligible residents to receive vaccines.
On Monday, Senator Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, announced that the Senate Health Committee will hold a special hearing on Thursday regarding the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the greatest line of defense we have against the pandemic,” Morrison said in a Monday news release. “Unfortunately, many people across the state who are eligible for the vaccine haven’t been able to get their dose – and that’s disheartening.”
The release said that the hearing has been scheduled amid “hundreds of questions and concerns from constituents” regarding the rollout of the vaccine, citing a “confusing” scheduling process.
“I hope this hearing will lead us toward a path of greater efficiency,” Morrison said in the release.
The virtual hearing, scheduled for noon on Thursday, will feature Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, as well as representatives from the Chicago and Sangamon County Health Departments.
The hearing will also include Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, the two companies responsible for issuing COVID-19 vaccines at long-term care facilities through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program. So far, 212,256 doses out of 496,100 allocated vaccines have been issued at long-term care facilities.
According to the news release, the subject matter hearing will focus on frequently asked questions and concerns regarding the rollout and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, and aims to “help vaccine distribution become more convenient and readily available.”
The hearing will be streamed on the General Assembly’s website, ilga.gov. The Senate is also accepting written testimony from members of the public.
IDPH has reported a total of 1.14 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. On Monday, public health officials reported an additional 35 deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 19,688.
As of Sunday night, 2,161 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 469 patients were in the ICU and 251 were on ventilators.
Last week, IDPH announced that all 11 of the state’s public health regions had reached metrics to return to Phase 4 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan, which allows for some indoor service at bars and restaurants as well as some activities like youth sports to resume.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.