Vaccine open to people with underlying health conditions

A+pharmacist+draws+the+Moderna+COVID-19+vaccine+into+a+needle+at+the+Church+of+the+Living+God+on+Feb.+20.+The+county+has+expanded+the+eligibility+range+for+the+vaccine.

Cameron Krasucki

A pharmacist draws the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a needle at the Church of the Living God on Feb. 20. The county has expanded the eligibility range for the vaccine.

By Samantha Boyle, Managing Editor for Reporting

Fifteen new COVID-19 cases were reported on March 1 — the most the University has seen since Feb. 24.

The University has conducted 1.5 million tests with 6,169 total positive cases since July. Champaign County as a whole has conducted about 1.76 million tests.

With a 0.11 positivity rate, the University has been conducting around 10,000 tests per day. On March 1, the University conducted 13,998 tests.

Champaign County has seen 18,256 total positive cases as of March 2, with 299 active cases. The county’s active cases are down 70 cases from Feb. 28.

At the same time, about 80,000 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. About 30,600 of those doses are the second dose.

A Champaign County resident waits to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Church of the Living God on Feb. 20. (Cameron Krasucki)

The county has opened eligibility for the vaccine for persons 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District lists these as underlying conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Smoking
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Persons with disability

Chancellor Robert Jones also sent out a Massmail Tuesday discussing the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7. The variant was first detected in the United Kingdom, but has since been detected at the University.

“With our rapid saliva test and frequent testing requirements, we have tools to maximize safety for our entire community, even with the emergence of this new variant,” Jones said in the email.

The CUPHD has also stated that the COVID-19 vaccinations will also protect people from the variant.

“I strongly encourage you to be vaccinated when you receive a chance to do so,” Jones said. “We are grateful to CUPHD for their vaccination leadership, and we will continue to share any vaccination opportunities for our faculty, staff and students.”

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