Pritzker issues statewide disaster proclamation after winter storm

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation Tuesday as a winter storm knocked out power to 7,000 households statewide and delayed a shipment of vaccines to Chicago.

Over a foot of snow fell on the city overnight, further blanketing a region that has already seen several snowstorms and frigid temperatures in the previous weeks. Similar weather across the country has thrown the nation’s gas supply into disarray, leaving thousands of Illinoisans without power and leading Gov. Pritzker to issued the disaster proclamation.

"I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather," Pritzker said in a statement. "We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations. We are also working with our federal partners to pursue federal assistance to help communities recover and to do what we can to protect ratepayers from soaring utility bills. I urge all Illinoisans to take this extreme weather seriously, avoid all unnecessary travel and check in on your neighbors."

The storm has also snarled travel, causing 200 flight cancellations at O’Hare and Midway airports, bogging down area roadways and leading the Chicago Department of Public Health to shut down coronavirus testing and vaccinations sites.

To make matters worse, the city announced Tuesday that the storm’s widespread damage would mean delays in vaccine shipments to Chicago in the coming days.

"While there is currently no estimated time of arrival on the orders, we anticipate daily updates from CDC," CDPH said. "All COVID shipments are requested as overnight shipping so we expect vaccine shipments and supply with catch up quickly."

Meanwhile, the state reported 1,348 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count since Sept. 9. Thirty-two more people in Illinois have died of the virus in the last day.