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View from the Cab: Moving to another phase

By: Kent Casson

Agriculture is included in Phase 1B of the state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution which is expected to begin soon.

Everyone has feelings one way or another about the vaccine but those involved in food production, education, manufacturing, public transit, grocery stores and other essential industries have a decision to make.

The Illinois Pork Producers Association sent out a news release on the issue last week, saying vaccination schedules will be determined at the local public health department level.

“Please consider reaching out to your county public health department to discuss vaccinations for your essential workers,” the release stated. “You may also want to prepare a list in advance of those individuals considered to receive the vaccination.”

There are an estimated 1.3 million frontline essential workers in Illinois and 1.9 million residents age 65 and over who will also be eligible to receive the vaccine. In Phase 1B, the state lowered the age from 75 years, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control, to 65 in order to vaccinate the most vulnerable.

A five-phased Restore Illinois plan is guided by health metrics with business, education and recreation activities characterizing the different phases, according to information from the state. Officials say the plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of Illinois as well as variations in hospital capacity.

There are 11 Emergency Medical Services regions from the Illinois Department of Public Health which have traditionally guided public health work around the state. Metrics for the different state regions can be tracked on the Illinois Department of Public Health website found at

I hope your 2021 is starting off happy and healthy. Despite all of the negatives we have been hearing in the national news lately and ice storm issues, I am sure the year will get brighter from here. All I can say is thank goodness for generator power on the farm. Thanks to the electricity back-up, I have barely missed a beat in my media ventures.


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