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Coronavirus Kills 71 More People In Illinois, But State Breaks Vaccination Record For 3rd Day In A Row

At least 19,138 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,008 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The COVID-19 Testing Center at Innovative Express Care in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Another 71 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 16 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 40s and three people in their 50s.

At least 19,138 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,008 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 4,156 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,120,528.

RELATED: A Year Of Loss: COVID-19 Has Killed More Than 4,500 Chicagoans. For These Families, Life Will Never Be The Same

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.

“… Right now, the news on the COVID front is really very good,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday livestream.

The state is administering an average of 38,738 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 756,444 vaccine doses of the 1,304,475 provided to it.

More than 161,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 131,401 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided 496,100 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.

Gov. JB Pritkzer said Thursday the state is doing “everything we can” to help speed up vaccinations in long-term care facilities, and they’re now on “a good trajectory.” He said he recently spoke with the heads of CVS and Walgreens, which are administering the vaccines as part of the federal program.

“They’re working hard to complete that,” Pritzker said at a news conference. “They’ve agreed that they will complete the first round of assisted living sites by Feb. 15” and have finished the first round of vaccinations at skilled nursing facilities.

All together, at least 887,845 vaccines have been administered in Illinois.

Illinois has lagged far behind other states in administering vaccine doses. But as of Friday, the state has reported three days in a row where it broke its record for COVID-19 vaccinations, with 58,357 vaccinations reported in the past day.

Pritzker said Thursday he’s “excited” because the state has created mass vaccination sites and he was promised by the Biden administration Illinois will get 16 percent more doses next week, which means the state will do more vaccinations.

“The average number of doses per day that’s being administered is going up significantly,” Pritzker said.

As of Monday, Illinois is now vaccinating people 65 and older and frontline workers as part of Phase 1B of the vaccination campaign. Illinoisans who are eligible are able to make appointments to get vaccinated at pharmacies, state-run mass vaccination sites and other places.

Chicago — which has a separate vaccination campaign — also moved into Phase 1B on Monday.

Arwady said Chicago also started vaccinating people in homeless shelters this week.

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

The state is peeling back some of its coronavirus safety restrictions as regions get their outbreaks more under control. Indoor dining has resumed at restaurants and bars that have food in Chicago.

At the same time, a more contagious variant of the virus from the United Kingdom has been found in Chicago.

The state’s ability to have indoor service and youth sports “could be cut short if we aren’t extremely careful,” Pritzker said at a news conference last week. “The CDC is already warning that the faster-spreading U.K. variant could become the dominant strain in the United States in March. And a virus that’s more contagious ultimately results in more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths.

“I know none of us wants to see another wave of COVID that brings on more mitigations, so let’s not let our guard down.”

And officials have cautioned it will be months before vaccines are widely available to the public. Chicago’s plan tentatively predicts vaccines will be available to everyone 16 and older by late May.

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.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 4.3 percent Friday with 111,057 tests reported. 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 5.4 percent Friday. It was at 5.5 percent Thursday.

As of Thursday night, 2,735 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 532 people in the ICU and 297 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, eight deaths and 675 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 4,609 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 233,562 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of 11 deaths per day, down from an average of 12 deaths per day the week prior.

An average of 660 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 23 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 7 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 6.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent the week before.

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