Reporters were shown around the vaccination area Dec. 11 at Rush University Medical Center in the Medical District. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Another 88 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 15 people from Cook County, including a man in his 50s and four people in their 60s.

At least 17,928 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 1,796 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state also reported 6,652 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,052,682. The state hit and surpassed the 1 million mark last week.

But there are signs of hope, officials have said: Chicago and Illinois are weeks into vaccinating people, and new cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped in the city and statewide since a mid-November peak.

“By and large, we are in a much, much better place than we were,” and Chicago is doing much better than most of the United States, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Monday news conference.

Gov. JB Pritzker the state will peel back some of its coronavirus safety restrictions Friday if regions continue to see progress in their fight against COVID-19.

The state is administering an average of 26,703 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 414,296 vaccine doses and has been allocated 972,750 doses. More than 80,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

The city has opened three mass vaccination sites for health care workers, and another three will be open by next week.

Pritzker said Monday he’ll announce this week when Illinois will move into Phase 1B, when people who are 65 or older and frontline essential workers can be vaccinated. Arwady said Chicago will allow health providers to start vaccinating people who are 65 and older and have underlying health conditions next week if the vaccine doses would otherwise be wasted.

Still, officials have cautioned it will be months before vaccines are widely available to the public.

That means people are still at risk and will have to continue taking precautions for much of 2021, officials have said. People should keep wearing a mask, staying socially distant, washing their hands frequently, not gathering, not traveling and not having people into their home, experts have said.

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.

The city has a stay at home advisory that recommends everyone stay at home as much as possible, only leaving for essential activities such as work and to get groceries. Arwady has also said people should not travel to other states since COVID-19 is surging across the United States.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate fell to 6.8 Thursday with 118,036 tests reported. It was at 7.3 percent Wednesday. 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 8 percent Thursday. It was at 8.3 percent Wednesday.

As of Wednesday night, 3,511 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 742 people in the ICU and 382 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, nine deaths and 1,509 confirmed cases were reported in the past day. There have been at least 4,392 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 221,699 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of 13 deaths per day, down from an average of 18 deaths per day the week prior.

An average of 1,215 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 20 percent increase from the previous week. At the same time, testing has risen by 25 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 10 percent, down from 10.6 percent the week before.

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