CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) — Gov. J.B Pritzker announced the state will move into the bridge phase of his administration’s mitigation plan Friday, May 14, putting the state one step closer to removing all COVID-19 mitigations.
“I’m pleased to announce that the concerning upward movement of cases and hospitalizations we were seeing a few weeks ago have stabilized – a testament to the lifesaving, community-protecting power of vaccinations,” Pritzker said.
“As a result, on Friday, May 14, the State of Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of our mitigation plan – one step closer to removing nearly all of the remaining mitigations, and a very hopeful move toward fully reopening. I want to thank people across Illinois who are getting vaccinated, wearing their masks, and continuing to do their part to make your friends and family safer and your communities healthier.”
Pritzker also said the state could hit Phase 5, a full reopening of the state, as soon as June 11, so long as there are no significant reversals in key COVID-19 statewide indicators.
The Bridge to Phase 5 will expand capacity to 60% for gyms, offices, retail, amusement parks, spectator events, theaters, zoos, and museums. It will also act as the “bridge” between mitigations in Phase 4 and the “new normal” of Phase 5, a post-pandemic Illinois.
Phase 5 requires 50% of all Illinois residents over 16 to have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Hospitalizations and death rates cannot increase significantly during that monitoring period.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike also expanded the state’s COVID-19 vaccine administration plan to include private doctors’ offices and small medical providers, who can now order and administer COVID-19 vaccine directly to patients. Providers can register with the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE).
“Vaccination is how we can get back to summer camps, swimming lessons, and youth sports; but it is not something the Illinois Department of Public Health can do on its own,” Ezike said. “We need everyone’s help. If you’ve been vaccinated, talk with your friends and co-workers about getting vaccinated. Research shows that health care providers, as well as friends and family, are who most people look to when deciding to get vaccinated. Wear your mask, avoid large crowds, and get your shot.”
At this time, 60% of adult residents have received their first dose, including 85% of residents ages 65 and older. State-run vaccination sites will now also accept walk-ins alongside pre-booked appointments.
This story will be updated.