Coronavirus (COVID-19) Newsletter — March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021  |  View as a webpage  |  Translate

COVID-19 Update

Dear Lake County Resident, 

With the first case of the P.1 Brazil variant of COVID-19 identified in Lake County this weekwe remind our community that we cannot let down our guard in this moment. Spring break is approaching for many, and we continue to advise against unnecessary travel. If you must travel, please take precautionsWear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance (the 3 Ws), and refer to CDC’s public health travel and quarantine guidance.

We are working as quickly as possible to vaccinate our community members with limited vaccine supply, and we are still a long way from achieving herd immunity. Don’t lose heart, and continue doing what we know helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 to keep yourself and your families protected. Follow the 3 Ws, and take the first vaccination opportunity you can find when you’re eligible. In the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, “Viruses cannot mutate if they don't replicate.”  

  • As of March 19, over 219,200 vaccine doses have been administered to Lake County residents and 78,648 residents (11.22%) of the population) have been fully vaccinated. 61.21% of Lake County seniors age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The county is averaging 5,501 doses administered per day on a 7-day rolling average, a 6.8% increase from last week. 
  • Lake County has been notified by the State that our Health Department will only receive an estimated 4,000 first doses of vaccine the week of March 29, 2021, which is a 65% reduction from the two prior weeks. We are now being told that vaccine supply will continue to improve in April once more doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine are received by the State. To see the weekly total of vaccines we receive, visit our Data Hub. 
  • The Illinois National Guard began assisting with vaccinations at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, March 17, allowing us to expand our daily capacity of vaccinations up to 1,500 doses per day at this site. Vaccinations appointments at the fairgrounds site are being offered to seniors, first responders, and the remainder of those eligible in Phase 1a. 
  • Our vaccination partners continue to assist us in vaccinating seniors, healthcare workers, Pre-K through 12th grade staff, daycare workers, and manufacturing employees. Many additional corporations, healthcare providers, and community partners are lined up, ready and waiting to receive supply of vaccine.  
  • The best vaccine to get is the first one available to you. We encourage our residents to take the first appointment they can find to get their vaccine. To explore the four ways to access your vaccine, visit 

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our Asian Community

Last summer, Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister shared a letter about how racism is a public health issue. In his letter, Pfister said, “We have come together in public health to prevent diseases that devastated lives; more than ever before, we need to address fundamental impediments to all experiencing a healthy life, including racism. These conversations can be difficult, but they are necessary. These conversations can feel awkward, but they are worth having. This is not the first time we have discussed this topic, and it won’t be the last. 

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see a rise in Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants being taunted, harmed, and blamed over COVID-19 fears. Pew Research Center reports that 31% percent of Asian adults say they have been subject to slurs and jokes about their race or ethnicity since the pandemic began. More recently a rise in anti-Asian crimes have left the Asian community with more trauma and anxiety.    

According to a study in academic journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, perception and experiences of COVID-19-associated discrimination has led to increased mental distress among Asians. Ongoing experiences of microaggressions and discrimination contribute to race-related stress and race-based trauma. The study also finds that Asians are often less likely to seek mental health services.  

There is help. Our Crisis Care Program can help guide you through difficult times, manage stress, anxiety and depression, and cope with long-term difficulties. Help is available 24/7 in person or by phone at (847) 377-8088. You can also call 211 to get connected to the help you need. 

  • Call 211 from your phone   
  • Text your zip code to 898211    
  • Visit  

P.1 COVID-19 Variant Identified in Lake County

The first case of the COVID-19 P.1 variant (Brazil) has been reported in Lake County. This is the second of the new COVD-19 variants identified since February. A limited number of cases have been identified in Lake County, but this is an underestimated amount of the number of actual cases in our community. 

Viruses constantly change and new variants are expected. In addition to the P.1 variant in Brazil, the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom (UK) and 1.351 variant in South Africa have recently emerged. These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.  

We need our community’s help to curb the spread of the virus while we work to vaccinate our residents as quickly as possible. It is crucial to continue to follow quarantine recommendations if you have traveled or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please remember to follow the 3Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance. It is also important to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. 

For more information on new COVID-19 variants, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website. 

Read the full press release. 

Recent Vaccine Announcements 

  • On Thursday March 18, Governor Pritzker announced that all Illinoisans age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine as of April 12. Please remember, however, that eligibility does not mean availability, and vaccine supplies continue to be limited. The Governor also announced revisions to the Restore Illinois Plan including a Bridge Phase between Phase 4 and 5. Watch the press conference here 
  • In a recent address to the country, President Biden announced that all states will make every adult eligible for vaccination beginning May 1. Read the Fact Sheet from his announcement here. 

While Lake County stands ready to administer doses, the supply is still lagging behind. 

The Lake County Health Department is currently offering vaccine appointments to residents in Phase 1A and Phase 1B at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake. 

To be notified of when a vaccine dose and appointment will be made available to you, register at

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Seniors at the Greenbelt Cultural Center

Greenbelt Flyer

The Greenbelt Cultural Center will be vaccinating seniors age 65 and older that reside in North Chicago, Waukegan, Park City, Beach Park, Great Lakes, and Zion. To make an appointment, email: or call (847) 582-1362 if you need assistance. 

Spring Break


As spring quickly approaches, many are making plans for a nice and relaxing spring break. However, the CDC has warned that the chances of getting COVID-19 increases with travel. Even if fully vaccinated, the CDC suggests delaying travel plans at this time.  

If you choose to travel, take precautions to reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by considering the following: 


Where you go matters. Check travel restrictions. Highly touristed destinations with lax or no coronavirus restrictions, such as no mask requirements or group size limitations, have a higher chance of outbreaks. Choose a vacation destination wisely. 

Several countries have travel restrictions in place due to a surge in coronavirus cases. Even if you are permitted to enter the country, you may find that many tourist destinations and public spaces are closed to curb the spread of the virus. 


When traveling, plan ahead to avoid crowds. Print your passenger tickets and pack snacks before leaving for the airport or train station. Limit your belongings to a carry-on bag to avoid having to wait for your luggage in a crowded terminal.   

Wear a good-quality mask and stay at least 6 feet apart from others in public settings. Do not remove your mask except to drink or eat. Sanitize your hands before removing the mask.   

Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face.  

If joining a tour group, make sure the appropriate measures are in place that practice safe, social distancing.  


Get tested 1 to 3 days prior to leaving for your destination. The CDC recommends you keep the results of your test in case you are asked for them during your travels. If you test positive, do not travel and self-isolate for 14 days.  

Get tested 5 to 7 days after your flight and self-quarantine for at least 7 full days after travel, even if you test negative. If you visit another country, you must provide proof of a negative test result before boarding a flight back to the United States.  

For additional information and resources, visit the Health Departments COVID-19 Travel section 

Illinois Vaccine Appointment Call Center

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) launched its Vaccine Appointment Call Center to ensure that all communities have access to the vaccine. Individuals with no access to internet services or who are struggling to schedule a vaccine online, can now speak with a live agent by calling (833) 621-1284 

The Call Center is open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week with approximately 500 English and Spanish speaking agents on hand. Translating services are available for other languages.   

During peak times, you may experience significant wait times before speaking with a live agent. You will be offered the option to leave a message and an agent will return your call when available.   

Additional information about the call center can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website 

COVID-19 Testing

Mobile Testing 3/19

Contact your doctor to ask about testing availability, or check the Lake County Testing Site Locator for options.   

State-run Community-Based Testing Sites located in Waukegan (102 W. Water St.), Arlington Heights (2000 W Euclid Ave.), and Rockford (1601 Parkview Ave.) are now open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Testing at these sites is free. These sites have drive-through testing, as well as walk-up testing for those who do not have a vehicle or need to use public transportation. Please note, you are not permitted to exit your car to use the walk-up line once you arrive. For more information, visit the IDPH website.   

A mobile testing unit run by the IDPH will be in Lake County on these dates:  

Sunday, March 21, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mundelein Metra Station
205 N. Archer Ave., Mundelein 

Monday, March 22, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
SkipperBud’s North Point
215 N. Point Dr., Winthrop Harbor 

Testing is free and open to all regardless of symptoms. A phone number and name are required in order to receive testing results. Photo identification and proof of insurance are helpful, but not required. High demand for testing may result in long wait times. Testing locations may close early due to inclement weather or if daily testing supplies are exhausted. Additional COVID-19 testing locations and information can be found at the IDPH website. 

American Rescue Plan

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which provides $65.1 billion in direct funding to counties across the United States. Preliminary estimates show that Lake County is expected to receive approximately $136 million for use on COVID-19 recovery and response efforts.  We are working with our legislative partners to determine specifics on eligible funding uses, which are expected to be similar to previous CARES fund use.  This could include continued funding for our vaccination distribution efforts, small businesses and non-profit support, and funding for public health and safety, and human services.  

Lake County government has planning teams actively working to ensure that support reaches those in our community who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Approved COVID-19 Treatments

As COVID-19 cases continue to be widespread, it is important to understand possible treatment options available. Any medical decision should always be made in consultation with a healthcare provider. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one treatment for COVID-19 and authorized others for emergency use during this public health emergency. The approved treatment is an antiviral drug called Veklury (remdesivir). It is only approved for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19 who are sick enough to need hospitalization. This treatment is only administered in a hospital or health care setting comparable to inpatient hospital care. 

To date, the FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for 10 drugs and biological products specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic. Many monoclonal antibody treatments have been authorized to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized adults and adolescents (age 12 or older weighing at least 88 pounds). These treatments are meant for those at risk of developing severe symptoms that may lead to hospitalization. Research so far shows that the drug may help to limit the amount of virus in the body. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for has provided a short video about monoclonal antibody therapy.  

For more information, check out the FDA’s Treatment Options for COVID-19 page. 

Growing Optimism Around Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Pew Image

Millions of Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccine since they were authorized in December 2020. The Pew Research Center recently release an article highlighting American’s increased optimism towards getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The study took place from February 16-21, 2021 and surveyed more than 10,000 Americans. From this study, 19% of adults have already received a vaccine and another 50% indicated they intend on getting the vaccine. In total, 69% are willing to receive or have received the vaccine. That is a 9% increase from a November study on the publics intent to vaccinate numbers.  

There are many factors that tie into a person decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Pew Research Center recognizes that trust is the biggest factor followed by community health, habits and practices, and personal concern. Trust is based on the vaccine research and development process. The vaccines have gone through rigorous testing and have been proven both safe and effective. The CDC offers a great deal of information about the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines. 

Lake County COVID-19 Cases

As of March 19, 2021, 55,799 Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, including 946 deaths.

Our Coronavirus Data Hub provides data and resources for our county, including cases and deaths, tests performed, demographic data, and an interactive map and charts. 

View the Lake County, IL Coronavirus Data Hub 

3 Ws Graphic - Lake County Health Department - English

Who to Contact if You Have Questions

Do you have questions? The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has established a COVID-19 hotline and email address to answer questions from the public:

For additional information from the IDPH, visit:

COVID-19 Resources

Lake County AllVax Portal Resources

Visit our AllVax Frequently Asked Questions page to find answers and information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Lake County. Encourage members of the community to register in AllVax utilizing resources from the AllVax Portal Toolkit, including social media messages, guides, print materials, and more. 

Community Guidance and Resources

Protect yourself and your community. Our Community Guidance and Resources page has information to help residents stay safe and informed. Specific group information can be found for:

  • Businesses and employers
  • Communities and faith-based organizations
  • First responders and law enforcement
  • Healthcare providers and hospitals
  • Schools and childcare programs
  • Travelers

Communication Resources

We need your help to keep our communities healthy and safe. The Lake County Health Department, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer free communication resources including fact sheets, flyers, posters, and videos.

Get Involved

Join the Medical Reserve Corps

The Lake County Health Department is in need of volunteers with a valid medical license to fill roles as vaccinators, vaccine mixers, and wellness check observers at our mass vaccination sites. Visit our Lake County Medical Reserve Corps page to learn more.

Become a Community Health Ambassador

Community Health Ambassadors play a key role in helping our community members get vaccinated by sharing resources, answering FAQs, and encouraging community members to register on AllVax. Visit the Community Health Ambassador page for more information and to register.

Additional Ways to Help

Visit Lake County Health Departments How You Can Help page to find additional opportunities to donate or volunteer.

Useful Links

Forwarded this email? Sign up to receive COVID-19 updates directly from the Lake County Health Department.