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Chicago Opens Mass Vaccination Sites Near Wrigley Field, At Chicago State University

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In an effort to get even more vaccines into arms as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising again in Chicago, city officials opened two new mass vaccination sites on Monday near Wrigley Field and at Chicago State University.

Advocate Aurora Health will operate the mass vaccination site at the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field. The site will be capable of administering approximately 2,000 doses per day, by appointment only.

The Chicago Department of Public Health and non-profit Community Organized Relief Effort will oversee the mass vaccination site at Chicago State University, where doses will be administered by Howard Brown Health. At full capacity, it will be able to provide 1,200 walk-up appointments and 1,000 drive-thru appointments per day. The site will be open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"We are making progress toward our goal of vaccinating all Chicagoans, and we are very pleased to partner with Chicago State University, the Chicago Cubs and Advocate Aurora Health to bring lifesaving vaccines to our communities," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. "While the list of those eligible for the vaccine expands, vaccine supply and appointments are still limited and patience will be key."

Registration for appointments at both mass vaccination sites will be available through Zocdoc. Appointments will be posted later this week, with more added daily. Details for booking an appointment by phone will be announced before the sites open.

Any Chicago resident currently eligible for a vaccine will be able to sign up for an appointment. Those currently eligible include healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, all essential workers, seniors age 65 and older, and people age 16 and up who have certain underlying health conditions. For more details on the city's eligibility list, check the city's COVID website.

Appointments will be restricted to Chicago residents, and people must bring proof of residency to their appointment. A complete list of eligible documents is available on the city's website.

The announcement of the new mass vaccination sites comes a day after Lightfoot warned that the city might have to tighten coronavirus restrictions if the troubling uptick continues.

"COVID-19 is still here. It is still killing people in our city every single day. So we have got to remain diligent," Lightfoot said Monday as the city expanded vaccine eligibility to adults with underlying health conditions and all essential workers.

Lightfoot said the recent uptick is driven by adults ages 18 to 39 years old on the North and Northwest Sides.

"We've also seen a number of outbreaks involving younger people; among sports teams and as a result of bar crawls," she said.

The mayor said the activities and locations themselves aren't the problem, it's the risky behavior involved, such as not wearing masks or observing social distancing.

The consequences are in the numbers. Chicago is averaging 473 new cases per day, up 34% from last week's average of 352 cases per day, and a 67% increase over two weeks ago, when the city was averaging 283 new cases per day.

The city's average test positivity rate is 4.2%, up from 3.2% one week ago, and 2.9% two weeks ago.

"It was about three weeks ago that we were on a downward trend, and we were seeing daily case rates in the 200s. Today, we're over 400 average new cases a day. And our percent positivity, which was the lowest that it had ever been in the pandemic, in the 2s, is now back to 4%, positivity. This is obviously a very troubling trend," Lightfoot said.

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