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69 More Die From Coronavirus In Illinois, Bringing Death Toll To At Least 19,444

The most recent victims included 20 people from Cook County, including a man in his 40s.

A person exits Loretto Hospital as Chicago's first COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Loretto Hospital, a 122-bed medical facility in Austin.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Another 69 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 20 people from Cook County, including a man in his 40s.

At least 19,444 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,053 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 3,328 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,137,559.

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

But there are signs of hope: Though Illinois’ vaccination campaign has been slower than other states’, more than 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered across Illinois as of this week.

And 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.

“We are getting so close to that target positivity of less than 5 percent, which is where we really want to be, ideally, where we were over the summer,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday livestream. “That has been really nice progress.

“Both our positivity and our daily case rate are the best they’ve been in four months.”

The state is administering an average of 46,709 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 977,605 vaccine doses of the 1,629,550 provided to it.

More than 221,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 178,848 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 496,100 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.

All together, at least 1,156,453 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois.

Illinois and Chicago are 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, their health provider’s office, state-run mass vaccination sites and other places.

RELATED: Here’s How You Can Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Chicago

The state is peeling back some of its coronavirus safety restrictions as regions get their outbreaks more under control. Chicago is now in Phase 4, the phase when the state’s restrictions are at their most relaxed before a full return to normalcy.

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 in January. “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 fell to 3.4 percent Thursday with 101,307 tests reported. It was at 3.5 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 4.4 percent Thursday. It was at 4.5 percent Wednesday.

As of Wednesday night, 2,341 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 513 people in the ICU and 265 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, 17 deaths and 577 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 4,683 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 236,416 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of 10 deaths per day, down from an average of 12 deaths per day the week prior.

An average of 539 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 19 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 4 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 5.4 percent, down from 6.4 percent the week before.

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