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Illinois Sees 116 More Coronavirus Deaths As Death Toll Rises To 15,414 People

The most recent victims included 41 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 40s and three people in their 50s.

Dr. Allison Arwady, right, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks as Deatra Howard, chief nursing officer at Loretto Hospital, gives the COVID-19 vaccine to Jermilla Hill, a patient care technician also at Loretto Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.
(Jose M. Osorio/ Chicago Tribune/Pool)
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CHICAGO — Another 116 coronavirus deaths were reported in Illinois during the past day.

The most recent victims included 41 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 40s and three people in their 50s.

That’s on top of 285 COVID-19 deaths reported since Friday.

The toll adds on to recent heavy losses: Last week was the second-deadliest of the pandemic for Illinois, with at least 1,060 Illinoisans dead from COVID-19. The week before saw a record-breaking 1,079 Illinoisans reported dead from COVID-19, and 953 people died the week before that, making it the third-deadliest week.

At least 15,414 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 1,257 deaths are probably related, according to the state.

The state also reported 6,239 cases over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 911,308.

There is growing hope as the virus’s spread has slowed in Illinois, though new cases and positivity rates remain high. Last week also saw the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in Chicago and across the state. More than 9,300 doses have been administered in Chicago, and another 63,000 people have been vaccinated in the rest of the state.

But officials have cautioned it will be months before vaccines are widely available.

That means people are still be at risk and will have to take precautions, like staying socially distant and wearing a mask, for much of 2021, officials have said.

“This is a time where we still have a lot of COVID in Chicago,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Monday morning livestream. There is a “high risk in terms of gathering. If you can avoid going out — unless it’s for work or for school or for really essential reasons — please do.”

People should keep wearing a mask, staying socially distant and washing their hands frequently, experts have said.

People also should celebrate their holidays virtually and not see people outside their household, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, has said.

“I definitely look forward to the day when the vaccine is widely available to every single person in the state,” Ezike said last week. “Until that time, we still need to continue with our masking, avoiding crowds, watching our distance and washing hands. Let’s work to protect and not infect those that we love and those around us.”

RELATED: A Coronavirus Vaccine Is Coming. Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Getting One In Chicago

Every region in Illinois remains under Tier 3 restrictions. The rules close museums, casinos and theaters; cut capacity at stores; stop indoor sports and put stricter rules in place at gyms and salons, among other things.

In Chicago, people are being asked to stay home as much as possible, leaving only for essential things like grocery shopping; to work from home if possible; to stop gathering with anyone outside their household; and to stop traveling.

The surge in new cases in Chicago — and across Illinois — can only partially be explained by increased testing; in reality, there are more cases because coronavirus is spreading so much, officials have said. There’s evidence of that in the way positivity rates and COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations rose rapidly and have stayed high.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity fell to 7.4 percent Tuesday with 84,764 tests reported. It was at 7.5 percent Monday. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.

Illinois’ seven-day test positivity, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell to 9 percent Tuesday. It was at 9.3 percent Monday.

As of Monday night, 4,571 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 981 people in the ICU and 557 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, 21 deaths and 1,067 confirmed cases were reported since Monday. There have been at least 3,966 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 195,982 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of 17 deaths per day, down from an average of 24 deaths per day the week prior.

An average of 1,276 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 21 percent decrease from the previous week.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 10.7 percent, down from 12.3 percent the week before.

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