Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Information and Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution – Chicago is now in phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations. This means Chicagoans age 65+ and specific groups of highest-risk and front-line essential workers are eligible for vaccination. Please remember, even when you become eligible, it may take weeks to get an appointment. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) expects it to take at least through March for frontline essential workers and those who are 65+ to get their first dose of vaccine because of limited supply, and the number of providers who are able to administer the vaccine. The vaccine will be offered at no cost to all Chicagoans who want it.

 

On February 10, Governor Pritzker announced the expansion of phase 1b to those with underlying conditions. While the City is making progress every day with vaccinating people in 1a and 1b, at this time Chicago is not being supplied enough doses to expand phase 1b to include those with underlying conditions. There are 713,000 Chicagoans (363,000 seniors 65+ and 350,000 essential workers) currently in phase 1b. However, the City has only received 218,250 first doses as part of phase 1b. CDPH will monitor the situation and continue to work to vaccinate as many Chicagoans as possible.

 

Phase 1C is estimated to start March 29th (majority of vaccinations in April and May)
Phase 2 is estimated start May 31st

 

United Center Mass Vaccination Site – State and local officials announced that the United Center’s new mass vaccination site will open for appointments exclusively for Illinois residents age 65 and over at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 4th. General registration for Phase 1b+ will open Sunday, March 7th at 4:00 pm. Please click here to access the United Center dedicated website that shares all of the details. There will be two ways to sign up: on Zocdoc (details below) or by calling 312-746-8435.

 

The United Center site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks and will be able to administer 6,000 shots per day at full capacity. Vaccinations would be by appointment only and demand is anticipated to be high. Doses administered at the United Center will be provided directly from the federal government and are not diverted from the supply sent to Chicago or Illinois.

 

City Partners With Zocdoc for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment – Zocdoc is new City partnership and is an efficient way for those eligible in Phase 1b to request a vaccine appointment, outside of their healthcare provider or directly with a pharmacy. Currently there may not be appointments available, however Zocdoc is a way to provide some basic information, and as supply increases and additional appointments become available, individuals will be contacted directly by email. Sign up at https://www.zocdoc.com/vaccine

 

City of Chicago COVID-19 Vaccine Website – The following website provides information on various ways Chicago residents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The website also includes a map to vaccine providers which have permitted their information to be shared with the general public. This site and map will be updated on a regular basis, as additional information becomes available: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid19-vaccine/home/ways-to-register.html

 

Other COVID-19 Vaccine Sign Up Links – As always, please consult your primary health care provider for the latest COVID-19 vaccination information.

 

https://mhealthcheckin.com/covidappt

 

https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19?fbclid=IwAR09ldm30Y14PhpNbsSC4lHMxYpaI21Xzsc82YnBGrtyum9ybQ_y5ZLFY1E   

 

https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine

 

If you or someone you know is without health insurance, please enroll in a federally qualified health care center (FQHC). They receive federal funds, so one is not required to have health insurance or be a U.S. citizen to receive medical care. There are around 165 FQHCs around the city. Click the following link to find the nearest FQHC closest to your home.

 

In Home COVID-19 Vaccine (For those that qualify) – To be eligible for this program you must: be a senior OR a person with a disability who requires in-home assistance OR have to use adaptive equipment (like a ventilator, crutches, a walker, a wheelchair, etc.) and/or accessible transportation to leave home AND leaving home is not an option for you because doing so requires considerable and taxing effort.

 

If you think you may qualify for in an home vaccine, complete this survey (https://redcap.link/MobileCOVIDVax).

 

CDC Guidelines on for Fully Vaccinated Individuals – On Monday, March 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume. The new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated.

 

Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.

Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.

Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.

 

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. Although vaccinations are accelerating, CDC estimates that just 9.2% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that the FDA has authorized for emergency use.

 

CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take these COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:

 

Wear a well-fitted mask.

Stay at least 6 feet from people you do not live with.

Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.

Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Follow guidance issued by individual employers.

Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

 

CDC has released resources to help people make informed decisions when they are fully vaccinated.

 

Business Reopening Plans

 

 

Chicago is in Phase 4 without any mitigation measures. These restrictions are the most up to date and take precedence over the industry-specific guidelines if there are points of contradiction.
 
 
The following industries or activities may continue operating under the following regulations:
 
Bars and Restaurants: Can reopen indoors at lesser of 50% or 50 people per space. Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service. Bars, taverns or breweries without a food license can reopen indoors as long as they partner with a food establishment (e.g., making menus available and allowing delivery, allowing patrons to order from third-party delivery services). Table size limited to no more than six people per table indoors and outdoors. Bar seating allowed with 6ft distance between parties. Indoor events allowed at 50% capacity with no more than 50 individuals, while following indoor dining guidelines.
 
Retail stores: 50% capacity
 
Grocery Stores and Pharmacies: 50% capacity
 
Places of worship: Limit each indoor space to 50 individuals, while practicing social distancing, or 50% capacity (whichever is fewer). Special events such as weddings, potlucks, and other community events are limited to 50% capacity with no more than 50 guests indoors and outdoors.
 
Health and Fitness Centers: 50% capacity with no more than 50 people per space; group classes allowed with no more than 20 individuals per group; Locker rooms and showers can remain open if strict and frequent cleaning measures are in place; Close ancillary accommodations, including saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms, where social distancing is not possible.
 
Personal Services: Limit to 50 individuals or 50% capacity, whichever is fewer. If a service requires the removal of face coverings (e.g., facials, beard trimmings) employee must wear both a mask and eye protection (e.g. face shield, protective glasses). Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed.
 
Outdoor Activities: Outdoor museums, performance venues and other outdoor activities can continue at 50% capacity with a maximum of 100 individuals. Group sizes are limited to 50 people or less, with total capacity limited to 100 people, while social distancing.
 
Out-of-School Programs: Indoor group exercise or fitness classes capped at 20 individuals (e.g., dance, yoga). Programs in which participants are primarily seated/stationery may continue in cohorts of up to 20 people (e.g., painting, creative writing, homework help). Day camps are still limited to 50% of facility capacity with no more than 15 participants per group.
 
Libraries: Considered an essential service as they support Chicagoans needing support with remote learning, job searching, temporary refuge for weather relief, securing needed benefits and resources. Libraries may remain open at 25% indoor capacity with protective measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the public and staff. See chipublib.org for more details.
 
Bars, restaurants and other establishments with a Tavern or Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity license must have all patrons off premises by 1:00 am.
 
Liquor stores, grocery stores and other establishments with a Package Goods license must cease alcohol sales at 11:00 pm. 
 

Health Care and Testing

 

Health Care Coverage and Testing The Federal CAREs Act requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccines and makes all coronavirus tests free. Contact your private insurance provider (BCBS, Aetna, Cigna, etc.) for more information or click here if you are an Illinois Medicaid recipient or www.medicare.gov if you are a Medicare recipient. 

 

Chi COVID Coach The City has launched Chi COVID Coach, a mobile friendly, web-based application to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This app allows CDPH to communicate directly with Chicago residents who may be COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms, provide important information and guidance, and creates the opportunity to pre-register for a vaccine when it comes available. To get started, visit: www.Chicago.gov/covidcoach.

 

If you do not have a medical provider, are uninsured, or have limited or no income and believe you need non-emergency medical services, you can contact your nearest community health center (CHC) by phone and inform them of your need. They will work with you to coordinate appropriate care. In cases of emergency, please call 911. There are approximately 165 CHCs throughout the city of Chicago, so find one that is close to you. You can find your nearest CHC at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov. For more information, see Finding Care when Uninsured.

 

Chicago Park District Reopening

 
The Chicago Park District announced plans to reopen the city’s lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatics programming as metrics have allowed the city to ease COVID-19 regulations.
 
Chicago Park District crews have begun opening public access points to parkland east of Lake Shore Drive. Lakefront parks will be open during normal operating hours. Parking fees will be required and enforced. Masks are mandatory. Large gatherings are strictly prohibited and social distancing must be observed at all times.
 
During the upcoming weeks, the Chicago Park District will also unlock gates and prepare all 500+ outdoor playgrounds and nature play spaces to reopen, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities for children, ages 12 and under. Families and caregivers are urged to practice safety guidance, including wearing a mask, social distancing and cleaning hands frequently. These high traffic areas are not sanitized but can be enjoyed safely by following the guidance on the signage installed at each location.
 
During its spring programming session, the Chicago Park District will reopen its indoor swimming pools to offer limited aquatics programming. Spring registration begins Monday, March 8th. Programs run April 5th through June 13th. Spaces for each program will be limited to observe social distancing. The District will follow swimming pool guidance from the State of Illinois.
 
For park specific COVID-19 updates, visit Chicago Park District
 

 

Food/Shopping Resources

 

Senior Shopping Hours Jewel – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 am to 9:00 am; Mariano’s – everyday from 6:00 am to 8:00 am; Trader Joe’s – Mondays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am; Walgreens – Tuesdays from 8:00 am to 9:00 am; Target – Wednesdays first hour; Whole Foods – everyday one hour before open; Costco – Tuesdays and Thursdays – 8:00 am to 9:00 am. Free grocery delivery is also available for seniors: at https://www.covidseniorshoppers.com/

 

3rd Ward Food Resources Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church (4543 S. Princeton Ave.) is hosting a Food Box Giveaway every Wednesday through June from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
 
Residents who are homebound and quarantined due to COVID-19, who need direct food deliveries should call 3-1-1 to access the new Chicago Emergency Food Coordination Center. The center will coordinate with The Salvation Army for emergency meal box deliveries, typically within 48 hours. Vulnerable residents who qualify for existing food support will continue to have access to youth meals, Meals on Wheels for older adults, and the Food Depository’s network of partners and support services.
 
Youth under 18 can access a CPS Meal Site, where you can pick up three days’ worth of breakfast & lunch for every child in your home. Check the map before you go, as locations and pickup times may change daily.
 
Adults 60+ should contact contact the Department of Family and Support Services’ call center at 312-746-4016 (Monday through Friday) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the Meals on Wheels Program and you will receive a weekly meal delivery of six meals to their home. Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) senior residents 60 and over can also contact CHA’s emergency services.
 

Food Assistance The Greater Chicago Food Depository coordinates over 700 partner agencies and programs in Chicago to offer food resources to those in need. Additionally, the Food Depository has a benefit outreach team to help people apply for SNAP and Medicaid benefits. Call 773-843-5416 for assistance or apply directly with IDHS. Chicago Public School are offering breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm to every person under the age of 18 – no child will be turned away. Families will receive 3 days of meals for each young person in the household. If you can not travel to a site, call 1-773-553-KIDS or email familyservices@cps.edu to schedule food delivery. Meals on Wheels is also supporting food assistance for homebound seniors. Finally the Homelessness Food and Shelter Directory lists the Emergency Food Programs citywide including Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens, etc. in Chicago and the surrounding area.

 

Kroger Rules to Protect Public – The Kroger Family of Companies (including Mariano’s) have instituted new rules for their stores including: reducing the number of people allowed in the store at one time by 50%, protective masks and gloves for associates, associate wellness checks, waived prescription delivery fees, a pilot for one-way isles in select stores, reduced holiday hours and continuing their zero waste commitment.

 

Housing Assistance

 

Rental Assistance The City of Chicago has emergency rental assistance program. This program provides financial assistance to Chicago residents, to prevent homelessness, to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction in order to stabilize individuals and families in their existing rental unit. For more information about this program, please click here.

 

The delegate agencies assisting the City with administration of the housing assistance program  are: Neighborhood Housing Services, Metropolitan Family Services, Historic Bungalow Assoc., The Resurrection Project, Far South CDC, Oak Park Regional Housing Center, Claretians Associates, LUCHA, Teamwork Englewood, SWOP, Greater Auburn Gresham CDC, and Chinese Mutual Aid Assn.

 

Mortgage Relief for Apartment Owners The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will grant mortgage forbearance to owners of multifamily properties in exchange for suspending evictions. The move applies to all Fannie and Freddie-backed mortgages in situations where renters can’t afford to make their monthly payments due to Coronavirus. For more information, please visit the FHFA website here

 

Unemployment Insurance

 

Unemployment Insurance IDES has increased staffing levels to try and meet the high demand for unemployment insurance filers. To apply for unemployment benefits, click here. For frequently asked questions about the unemployment insurance process click here.
 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Recently, Illinois began providing unemployment benefits through the CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. PUA provides benefits for individuals (1) who are out of work due to a specific COVID-19 related reason and (2) who have been determined ineligible for state unemployment benefits. For more information regarding this program, click here
 

Utility Bill Assistance

 

Utility Bill Assistance ComEd is suspending service disconnects, providing resources and payment accommodations for those who may have challenges paying their monthly energy bill. Customers who may be experiencing financial hardship should visit ComEd.com/CARE or call 800-334-7661. People’s Gas will further suspend disconnection notices until May 1 to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.  They also provide grants (of up to $200) to help with heating bills. Learn more about how to apply: https://bit.ly/3apEltP

 

Internet Providers Free Internet options are available through local partners, such as Comcast and AT&T.  The City will be working closely with partners to ensure outreach to communities and households in need. Mayor Lightfoot recently announced an initiative with Comcast to expand internet access. For more details on the program, families can visit www.internetessentials.com/apply. Residents can also  visit www.everyoneon.org/find-offers for low cost/free internet service. Families can search for what’s available via zip code.

 

Additionally, Comcast is offering free Xfinity WiFi hot spots to everyone, pausing their data plan, ending disconnects or late fees, and providing intent essentials free to new customers.  AT&T announced the creation of a Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning. Additionally, AT&T is expanding access to their program “Access from AT&T,” a low-cost home internet offering to qualifying households.

 

Taxes

 

Federal Economic Impact Payments As part of the CARES Act, most Americans will receive an economic impact payment of $1,200 per person with an additional $500 for qualifying dependent. To review program rules, check the status of your payment, or to update your tax information to receive a payment, go to www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

 

Tax Filing Information  Governor Pritzker announced he will delay the Illinois state income tax filing deadline until July 15. This aligns with the new filing deadline for federal taxes, which is also July 15.

 

Other Important Information

 

Rear Boarding of CTA Buses Customers will be directed to the rear doors to board CTA buses. Customers using a mobility device or individuals who require use of the ramp or for the bus to lower will still use the front door.  To allow for fare payment, CTA is moving farecard readers to the rear doors of buses. During the transition, CTA will not enforce fare payment on buses that do not yet have rear-door farecard readers.

 

Data and Legislation

 

COVID-19 Data The City of Chicago has released demographic data tracking the spread of COVID-19, including data broken down by zip code. To access this information click here.

 

If you have been in a country with widespread sustained transmission (any country with a Travel Alert Level 3) or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus.

 

The 3rd Ward Service Office is closed during this time. However, our office is operating remotely. We kindly ask that any business you may have with our office be conducted via phone or email

*Thank you to the 4th Ward for helping to compile some of this important information

 

With the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Alderman Dowell’s Office will try to keep the information provided on this website as up-to-date as possible. However, please always check with the relevant agencies or your personal physician before making any decision that may affect your health based on the information provided above