Dr. Norem joins us every Monday morning to give us the latest on the coronavirus, COVID-19, and the vaccine rollout.

Our conversation today leaned heavily on the vaccine rollout. There are still stories of allergic reactions happening after receiving the shot. Dr. Norem explains that this is normal for any new vaccine and should be figured out shortly.

One of the biggest problems the medical community is facing right now is the lack of supply and a lack of transparency of when to expect a new supply of vaccines. It's a problem that Dr. Norem hears is happening all over the country and should be addressed sooner than later.

Virus mutations are still making news. As far as Dr. Norem knows, all current vaccines are still effective against known mutations, however, doctors are concerned that the mutated virus appears to be more contagious.

The good news locally is that mitigations have been lowered to Tier 2 in Rockford's region and could be lowered to Tier 1 this week. That's if the numbers continue to move in the same direction they have the last few weeks. Tier 1 is when restaurants and bars are allowed to open back up with limited capacity.

Here is what needs to happen before we get to Tier 1:

  • Positivity rate below 8% for three consecutive days - Rockford's region fell under 8% for the first time on Jan 13 and fell again the next day to 7.1%. If the next day stays under 8%, we will meet this goal. That number will be released later today.
  • Hospital and ICU bed availability above 20% - This benchmark remains the same for Tier 2 to Tier 1 progression as it was for Tier 3 to Tier 2 progression. The rates for both hospital and ICU bed availability has hovered around 25% for weeks.
  • No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital for 7 out of 10 days - This is also the same requirement as before. Rockford's region has seen a decline of hospitalization numbers in 8 of the last 10 days.

You can check out the latest numbers here. 

Rockford could see restaurants and bars reopen as early as tomorrow if the latest positivity rate is again under 8%. We will learn what's next when Governor Pritzker does his daily briefing later this afternoon.

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