CHICAGO — Another 108 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the weekend.
Sixty deaths were reported Saturday and 48 deaths Sunday. The most recent victims included 29 people from Cook County, including four people in their 50s.
At least 19,633 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,077 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 5,122 confirmed cases during the weekend, with 3,062 cases reported Saturday and 2,060 reported Sunday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,146,341.
But there are signs of hope: 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 51,553 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 1,154,506 vaccine doses of the 1,635,925 provided to it.
More than 257,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.
Another 188,351 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 1,342,857 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.
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 rose slightly to 3.4 percent Sunday with 81,550 tests reported. It was at 3.3 percent Friday. 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 4.1 percent Sunday. It was at 4.3 percent Friday.
As of Saturday night, 2,188 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 507 people in the ICU and 245 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 21 deaths and 986 confirmed cases were reported since Friday. There have been at least 4,713 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 238,022 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of eight deaths per day, down from an average of 11 deaths per day the week prior.
An average of 464 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 24 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 6 percent.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 4.9 percent, down from 5.8 percent the week before.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.