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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 3/4/2021 Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
a group of people sitting at a desk: Jada Johnson receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Armando Ambriz, medical assistant with Esperanza Health Centers, at the Gage Park vaccination site in Chicago on Feb. 19, 2021. © Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Jada Johnson receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Armando Ambriz, medical assistant with Esperanza Health Centers, at the Gage Park vaccination site in Chicago on Feb. 19, 2021.

Illinois readied two more mass COVID-19 vaccination sites to open Thursday as workers completed preparations at the United Center site, where plans call for up to 6,000 people to be inoculated each day by next week.

The sites opening Thursday at 1155 E. Oakton St. in Des Plaines and in downstate Quincy, together, are geared to give shots to up to 4,000 people a day once at full capacity, the state said. With those sites, the state has 18 state-supported mass vaccination sites.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot clenches her fist after she receives her second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 19, 2021, at the Gage Park vaccination site. © Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot clenches her fist after she receives her second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 19, 2021, at the Gage Park vaccination site.

Meanwhile, the United Center mass vaccination site is in a parking lot on the northeast side of Madison and Wood streets. Contractors are building six white tents — each covering 5,000 square feet — that will make up the site, said Dan Shulman, a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman.

The site will be the biggest in the state. It will have a “soft opening” on March 9, Shulman said. March 10 will be the first day the site will try to hit its goal of 6,000 vaccines per day. The site will be open seven days a week for eight weeks. Registration will begin 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

a close up of a person wearing a mask: Dr. Ali Khan preps a syringe with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 14, 2021, at Steinmetz High School in Belmont Cragin. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Dr. Ali Khan preps a syringe with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 14, 2021, at Steinmetz High School in Belmont Cragin.

Illinois COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Here’s where the state stands

COVID-19 in Illinois by the numbers: Here’s a daily update on key metrics in your area

Illinois coronavirus graphs: The latest data on deaths, confirmed cases, tests and more

COVID-19 cases in Illinois by ZIP code: Search for your neighborhood

Join our Facebook group to get the latest COVID-19 information from Tribune reporters and editors

Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

a person holding a cell phone: Corinne Puchalla, a pharmacist with the University of Illinois at Chicago, prepares a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 8, 2021. © Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Corinne Puchalla, a pharmacist with the University of Illinois at Chicago, prepares a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 8, 2021.

6 a.m.: As COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Chicago’s hard-hit Latino communities, hope is revived but outreach to skeptics still needed

a group of people standing in a parking lot: Workers pound anchors for temporary tents for the vaccine center being built in a parking lot outside the United Center on Feb. 26, 2021. According to officials, it will be capable of inoculating 6,000 people per day. © John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Workers pound anchors for temporary tents for the vaccine center being built in a parking lot outside the United Center on Feb. 26, 2021. According to officials, it will be capable of inoculating 6,000 people per day.

It was not even 2 a.m. when people began to line up outside a Little Village church Sunday in hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

By 8 a.m., dozens of umbrellas lined more than four blocks in one of the Chicago neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus as people waited their turn, a turn many of them had thought would never come.

a group of people standing around a table: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth has her temperature taken before touring the vaccination center at Triton College in River Grove on Feb. 27, 2021. © Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth has her temperature taken before touring the vaccination center at Triton College in River Grove on Feb. 27, 2021.

By the end of the day, more than 1,000 residents, the majority Latinos — many people gave up their spot for their parents and grandparents — received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Despite efforts by the city to make the shots available to every resident of areas most affected by the virus, regardless of whether they meet other standards to be vaccinated, some Latinos are still having trouble getting the vaccine while those in other hard-hit communities continue to wait for it.

Community leaders say hesitancy about the vaccine plays a role in keeping some Latinos from getting inoculated even where it is available. But language and technology barriers also are discouraging people from seeking an appointment or even learning more about the vaccine.

a man sitting in front of a crowd of people: Harold Sherman, 91, receives his shot form Pam Eddy on March 2, 2021, at a McHenry County Department of Health mass COVID-19 vaccination site inside a former department store in McHenry. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Harold Sherman, 91, receives his shot form Pam Eddy on March 2, 2021, at a McHenry County Department of Health mass COVID-19 vaccination site inside a former department store in McHenry.

Recently, a group of more than 40 community organizations called on the Chicago Department of Public Health to expand its initiative for high-risk neighborhoods to more communities and improve its approach to reaching Spanish-speaking Latinos as well as Black residents.

a person holding a wine glass: Sister Patricia Sanchez receives a COVID-19 vaccination from medical assistant Syreetta Stinson at Friend Health clinic on East 55th Street in Chicago on Feb. 18, 2021. © Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Sister Patricia Sanchez receives a COVID-19 vaccination from medical assistant Syreetta Stinson at Friend Health clinic on East 55th Street in Chicago on Feb. 18, 2021.

Read more here. —Laura Rodríguez Presa

In case you missed it

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a group of people standing around a table: People line up to check in March 2, 2021, at a McHenry County Department of Health mass COVID-19 vaccination site inside a former department store in McHenry. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS People line up to check in March 2, 2021, at a McHenry County Department of Health mass COVID-19 vaccination site inside a former department store in McHenry.
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