State OKs Early Eligibility Expansion


Areas of the state may begin vaccinating those 16 years of age or older earlier than anticipated as vaccine demand slows under current guidelines and COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases see an uptick. 

Vaccine eligibility is not set to open statewide until April 12, but in response to an increase in cases, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that local health departments seeing low vaccine demand can expand eligibility to all who are 16 and older. The state also announced the deployment of five mobile teams to combat a surge in northwest Illinois.

The statewide seven-day rolling case positivity rate was 2.9 percent Friday, the highest rate since Feb. 15. 

Locally, the Montgomery County Health Department reported 11 new cases through Friday last week, including seven on Friday.  Overall, though, the seven-day positivity rate in Montgomery county was 0.4 percent.

The state remains under Phase 4 restrictions, unable to move toward the “bridge” phase, which would allow for greater capacity limits for businesses and social gatherings, because of these early signs of a possible resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The state is on track to reach 70 percent of first doses administered to residents 65 years or older in the coming days, which is one of the requirements that would trigger the bridge phase. However, increased COVID-19 hospitalizations are preventing the state from moving forward.


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