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Snow delays Chicago vaccine shipments, closes testing sites

February 16, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The severe winter weather hitting parts of the country hampered COVID-19 vaccine shipments and testing sites Tuesday in Illinois.

More than a hundred vaccine providers in Chicago didn’t get shipments, leading to appointment cancellations and a potential slowdown for several days. However, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city should be able to catch up and appointments will be rescheduled.

“We can control a lot of things, but we can’t control the weather,” Arwady said during an online event for the public.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also warned the weather would “most likely contribute to reduced vaccinations over the next several days.”

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The storm, which dumped up to 18 inches of snow in the Chicago area, also triggered the closure of city-run COVID-19 testing sites.

Still, city leaders pointed to encouraging signs. Chicago’s seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests was 3.6%, which Mayor Lori Lightfoot said was the lowest since March of last year.

On Tuesday, Illinois logged 1,348 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths, according to state officials. Overall, Illinois has reported nearly 1.2 million cases and more than 20,000 deaths. More than 1.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois.