Almost all of Chicago’s lakefront beaches were scheduled to reopen Friday for the first time since September 2019, but high winds ushered in by a cold front led to a Beach Hazards statement from the National Weather Service, with wave heights of 8 to 11 feet forecast.
“Swimming conditions will be life threatening, especially for inexperienced swimmers,” according to the weather service.
After temperatures forecast to be in the low 50s and in the 40s near the lakefront Friday, though, the rest of the Memorial Day weekend is expected to be sunny and progressively warmer.
Also on Friday, Wrigley Field is expanding to 60% capacity, starting with this weekend’s series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs will lift masking restrictions for fully vaccinated fans. The White Sox increased capacity at Guaranteed Rate Field to 60% earlier this week.
Additionally, the mass vaccination site at Wrigley Field’s Gallagher Way was set to close Saturday after two months, city officials announced late Thursday.
Illinois public health officials Friday reported 982 new and probable cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths. That brings the state’s totals to 1,380,261 cases and 22,739 deaths. There were 56,438 tests reported in the previous 24 hours, and the seven-day statewide positivity rate as a percent of total test is 1.9%.
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Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area:
3:08 p.m.: Concerts, doughnuts and cash: Some of the incentives you can get for getting vaccinated in Illinois and the rest of the country
CVS is giving away a trip to Bermuda as well as other prizes. The city of Chicago is teaming up with barbershops and hair salons and offering free haircuts. You can win a free flight from United Airlines. There are all also free doughnuts and french fries out there.
All of this for getting vaccinated for COVID-19, and in some cases, showing proof of vaccination.
Other states are at it, too: Friday A 22-year-old woman from near Cincinnati won $1 million in that state’s lottery-backed incentive program.
Here are some of the vaccination incentives offered here and elsewhere in the country.
Read more here. —Jemal R. Brinson
12:13 p.m.: 62,274 vaccine doses administered, 982 new cases and 21 deaths reported Friday
Illinois public health officials on Friday reported 982 new and probable cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths. That brings the state’s totals to 1,380,261 cases and 22,739 deaths.
There were 56,438 tests reported in the previous 24 hours, and the seven-day statewide positivity rate as a percent of total test is 1.9%.
There were 62,274 doses of the vaccine administered Thursday, and the seven-day rolling average of daily doses is 58,378. Officials said 66% of Illinois adults have received at least one vaccine dose and 49% of adults are fully vaccinated.
—Chicago Tribune staff
8:45 a.m.: High waves to close Chicago beaches to swimming on day of reopen as weather slows trains, closes part of Lakefront Trail
Waves of up to 11 feet along Chicago’s lakefront will close Chicago beaches to swimming Friday, the first day they’re supposed to be open since 2019, according to the National Weather Service, as a downed tree slowed some Metra trains and high waves closed part of Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.
The weather service issued a Beach Hazards Statement effectively closing Chicago beaches to swimming Friday and Saturday on the weekend of their anticipated reopening.
The weather service expects high wave action and dangerous currents at Lake Michigan beaches in Cook County through Saturday evening. Swimming conditions could be life threatening with waves up to 11 feet Friday, the weather service said in a statement.
People are advised to stay away from the shoreline, including piers, the weather service said.
Read more here. —Maggie Prosser
6:30 a.m.: Wrigley Field mass vaccination site to close Saturday
Chicago’s mass vaccination site at Wrigley Field’s Gallagher Way was set to close Saturday after two months, city officials announced late Thursday.
Public health officials in the city, area counties and state have been pivoting to a more locally focused vaccine strategy as mass vaccination sites have become less busy. In recent days, Cook County has announced it’s closing half its mass vaccination sites, as Kane County announced its sites are cutting back on their schedules.
“As the City of Chicago shifts to hyperlocal vaccination strategies focused on meeting residents where they are, the temporary mass vaccination site at the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field” was scheduled to close after vaccinations Saturday, according to a release.
The “closure will mark the end of a two-month effort, in partnership with Advocate Aurora Health and the Chicago Cubs, that delivered more than 42,000 vaccine doses to Chicagoans—more than the capacity of Wrigley Field itself,” according to the release. Going forward, Aurora Health will instead work on local, community vaccination efforts, “including staffing the City’s mobile vaccine buses—the Vaccination Station.”
Anyone scheduled to have a vaccination at Wrigley after Saturday should have been contacted and had their appointments relocated to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, “less than a mile from Wrigley Field,” according to the release.
—Chicago Tribune staff
6 a.m.: Financial woes doom West Loop drug treatment center for women. Site to be turned into housing, retail. ‘So many beautiful stories came out of there.’
A unique drug treatment program that has been a beacon for women struggling with addiction will close Friday after years of financial strain, its historic brick and limestone building set to be transformed into housing and retail by a luxury apartment developer.
The Women’s Treatment Center in the booming West Loop provided residential care to 45 women, and it allowed them to bring their children — an extreme rarity in the recovery world. It also offered outpatient methadone treatment to more than 600 patients addicted to opioids.
But the center had endured money trouble nearly from the moment it opened it 1990, according to founding board member Andrea Kramer, a struggle that intensified after the state switched to a managed care model that slowed payment.
When the pandemic hit, she said, the center couldn’t survive.
“COVID became the death knell for us,” she said. “To open your doors and provide safe treatment in a residential facility, we just couldn’t do it.”
Read more here. —John Keilman
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