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Illinois on track to full reopen June 11, local health departments optimistic

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - In a news conference Tuesday, Illinois Governor Pritzker said the state is on track to enter phase five of Restore Illinois next Friday, June 11. Phase five is the final phase of the state’s restoration plan and will have no capacity limits or restrictions. Local health departments say they are cautiously optimistic about entering the final phase toward normalcy.

“We have 102,000 doses into Rock Island County residents. I would really like to see that a little bit higher, but we also need to understand that people have been cooped up for fourteen or fifteen months and there are some people who have been vaccinated for months and would really like the freedom,” says Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer at the Rock Island County Health Department.

With no restrictions coming as soon as next week, officials say vaccinations are key to managing a fully restored Illinois.

“We are hoping that we have enough people vaccinated that we will be able to manage the COVID cases without having to have restrictions,” Hill says.

Health departments hope new on-site walk-in clinics at their department locations will help sustain vaccination numbers as many mass vaccine clinics close.

“We are having a lot of success with our walk-in COVID clinic. This is our third week and we have given over 200 vaccines at this point,” Lori Steiner, Clinical Health Services Manager at the Scott County Health Department says.

On the first day of walk-in clinics at the Rock Island County Health Department, Hill says they administered 75 shots.

“We are just trying to reach people who will get it when it’s convenient for them. So now we are just trying to make it as convenient as possible having walk-in hours twice a week,” Hill says.

Both health departments say the number of cases after Memorial Day celebrations will help determine whether the state is ready to fully reopen, but are hopeful for the start of the final phase of Restore Illinois.

“At this point I think we should just be optimistic and understand that the people who have been vaccinated have earned this newfound freedom,” Hill says.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, once fifty percent of residents age 16 and older have been vaccinated and COVID cases continue to decline, Illinois will be able to move into phase five.

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