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IL moves to new phase in COVID-19 pandemic battle

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Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 1,431 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths on Sunday.

Video Transcript

- Illinois is getting closer to allowing more people in businesses across the state. Days ago, Governor Pritzker announced a new bridge phase once enough people are vaccinated. Dr. Chris Colbert from the emergency medicine residency program at UIC joins us now this morning to talk all about this. Thank you so much for being here, Doctor.

CHRIS COLBERT: [? Mark, ?] it's great to be here. Good morning.

- Great to see you again. So under this new bridge phase that that could be coming soon, businesses can increase capacity. More people would be allowed at weddings. But social distancing is still required. So how do we make sure that we open up, but we don't backslide and get those cases back up as well?

CHRIS COLBERT: Well, [? Mark, ?] I have cautious optimism on the direction of which we are going, specifically referenced to businesses and opening up new businesses. Now, there's a balance between promoting your business or event and promoting safety. Three big ideas-- number one, for your business, for your employers, is to continue to wear a mask. And number two, with shared utensils or shared objects, continuing using the QR codes for menus will be great, and that will decrease the mitigation of any sort of spread. And also, modify your layout. As you allow and the restrictions are lifted, make adjustments to make your customers feel safe and also to promote your business as well. Spread things out, and ensure that your customers can also enjoy your business and be safe.

- Right, we can't just go back to kind of exactly the way it was before, where we're packed in shoulder to shoulder, for sure. The City of Chicago is planning to move to a new vaccination phase later this month, and across the state, adults become eligible next month. So realistically, how long do you think it's going to take for people to actually get their shot?

CHRIS COLBERT: So again, more good news to discuss. We're looking specifically in Illinois as by April the 12th-- April the 12th-- all adults will be able to receive the vaccine. And I think it's realistic as long as Illinois continues to have not only vaccination sites, but now I can communicate with patients and say, hey, you can call Walgreens, and they can provide a vaccination for you as well. There's greater access for Illinois residents, and also there's policy put in place. So I think it's extremely realistic to have this goal.

- OK, Dr. Colbert, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it.

CHRIS COLBERT: It's great to be here. Thank you.

- Great to have you again.