Sangamon County Department of Public Health

Lisa Scacco and Mary McDermott traveled to Springfield on a recent Sunday for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

At the Orr Building at the corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Lisa Scacco — sporting an “I got my COVID-19 vaccine” sticker — spends the observation period after her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination site at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health announced Tuesday it is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 16 or older for its vaccination clinics at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and at the county health department. The expanded eligibility is only for the county sites.

People waiting for extra COVID-19 vaccine doses are assigned a numbered parking spot at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health's vaccination clinic.
Rachel Otwell / Illinois Times

The COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health has a new process for giving out doses left at the end of each day, department director Gail O’Neill confirmed Monday.

Dozens of tables with equipment for COVID-19 vaccinations sit in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois has given more than two million vaccinations. But Black residents are less likely to get the shots than their white peers, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data. As of Feb. 22, 4% of Sangamon County’s vaccine doses have gone to Black residents, who make up 13% of the county’s population, according to census numbers.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Just over a quarter of appointments booked at Sangamon County’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Feb. 1 through March 15 went to the county’s targeted population – healthcare workers and residents 85 and older.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill talks about the importance of flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health announced last week it would prioritize new appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at its drive-thru clinic to those 85 and older, and their 65-or-older caregivers.

But some of the more than 6,000 people who scheduled for slots Feb. 1 through March 15 did not actually meet that criteria, the health department noted in a document provided Tuesday. The county did not provide specifics of how many people.

An Illinois Air National Guard member receives his COVID-19 vaccination at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

March 18: Updated information can be found here COVID Vaccine Information For Sangamon County.

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is making 12,000 appointments at its drive-thru clinic for first and second doses available.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health on Monday announced it will prioritize COVID-19 vaccine doses for seniors, starting with those 85 and older.

All seniors over 65 are eligible for COVID shots now that Illinois is in Phase 1b of its vaccine rollout plan. But the county health department cited a limited and inconsistent supply of doses and “frustration and confusion” due to the lack of supply as reasons for narrowing eligibility for its vaccination clinic, in a document released Monday.

The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine arrived in Illinois at the state's Strategic National Stockpile on Monday, Dec. 14.
Screenshot from video provided by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office

Update: The Sangamon County Department of Public Health on Monday announced it will prioritize COVID-19 vaccine doses for seniors, starting with those 85 and older. Read more here

Asima Rahman has a new routine since she’s been back teaching in her third grade classroom at Ridgely Elementary in Springfield.

She checks the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and Walgreens websites before work in the morning, at lunchtime and after school, searching for an open COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Memorial Health System

Sangamon County seniors over 65 and essential workers eager to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should keep an eye on the county health department’s website and Facebook page.

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health will announce new availability of appointments for the shots on those channels in the coming days and weeks, as well as inform local news outlets, according to county spokesperson Jeff Wilhite.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill talks about the importance of flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County will begin Monday vaccinating seniors over 65 and essential frontline workers against COVID-19, the next priority group behind healthcare workers.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

On the same day local enforcement began of COVID-19 mitigations aimed at bars and restaurants, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health released contact tracing data Friday showing where people who tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts had been the two weeks prior to the positive test.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Just hours after Gov. JB Pritzker announced new COVID-19 restrictions for west-central Illinois on Thursday, the Sangamon County Health Board passed a resolution supporting local law enforcement agencies in enforcing the ban on indoor dining and bar service.

Dr. Donald Graham, an infectious disease specialist at Springfield Clinic, urges the public to follow health recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is nearing 4,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began – about 2% of its population. Local public health officials gathered at a news conference Sunday to sound the alarm about the surge, warning the area is “strikingly close” to having additional restrictions imposed by the state.

A surge in COVID-19 cases in central Illinois is causing concern for some local hospital leaders.

For now, there are enough hospital beds to accommodate those with serious COVID-19 infections. But as the number of confirmed cases and local test positivity rate rises, hospital leaders worry their emergency rooms and intensive care units could become overwhelmed – a threat that led to the statewide stay-at-home order in the spring.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill talks about the importance of flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Two residents of Brother James Court – a care facility for men with disabilities – and one resident of Mill Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center died due to COVID-19 this week, bringing the total deaths related to the disease to 50 in Sangamon County.

Dr. Vidya Sundareshan talks about the importance of getting a flu shot. She's joined by representatives from Memorial Health System, HSHS Illinois and Springfield Clinic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County health officials are urging people to get a flu shot, as they continue to battle the spread of COVID-19.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

This fall, if a student has a fever, cough or other symptom that is commonly linked to COVID-19, they cannot enter a school building.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County came off the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of counties at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/null?ref=ccsearch
HM Treasury / Flickr

The Illinois Department of Public Health will test people for COVID-19 at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, beginning today.

Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
Illinois Department of Public Health

Sangamon County is one of several counties that are now at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

The county has had 70 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, surpassing the Illinois Department of Public Health’s target number of 50 cases. The number of emergency room visits of people with COVID-19 symptoms is also rising.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Bandy would post photos on social media of patrons packing his bars in Springfield.

“That was my proudest moments, when you see a lot of people in your business having a good time,” Bandy said. “Now, it's bad to do that. It's wrong to have a packed business. And rightfully so.”

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

A month ago, Sangamon County confirmed a dozen COVID-19 cases in one week. So far this week, more than 50 people have tested positive.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is looking to expand its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, and prevent outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The local health department is asking the Illinois Department of Public Health for $2.86 million to fight the new coronavirus over the next year.

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

More than two months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared testing would be key to Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus testing is still limited in Sangamon County.

Meanwhile, state officials report more than 13,600 tests done in the county. Local officials, however, estimate that with repeat tests and people from outside the county limits screened here, only 5,600 individual Sangamon County residents have been tested.

A look at the numbers from one recent week provides a window into the complexities underlying the stats published by health authorities.

COVID-19 Updates In Springfield And Central Illinois

May 26, 2020
A sign asks customers to wear face coverings, which is required by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's most recent stay-at-home order.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

This post is for news on the local response to the coronavirus in Springfield and Central Illinois. For last week's updates, go to this post.

You can send tips, questions or announcements to engage@nprillinois.org.

There is an outbreak of the coronavirus at The Villas in Sherman.
Google Maps

Two more residents of The Villas East in Sherman, both women in their 80s, died from COVID-19 at HSHS St. John’s Hospital Wednesday, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health reported.

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Heather Kadyk’s job is like trying to solve a big puzzle. She's an infectious disease nurse with the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, piecing together the spread of COVID-19, in an effort to slow it down.

Medical and health officials answer questions about the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Springfield
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

There are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sangamon County, including one new case reported Wednesday, according to a news release from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and Springfield’s four major healthcare organizations. 

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is asking residents to call its hotline if they think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. But because testing is still limited by lack of supply, calling the line is no guarantee of finding out whether you actually have the disease.

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