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Coronavirus Kills 53 More People In Illinois, Bringing Death Toll To At Least 19,739

At least 19,739 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,130 deaths are probably related to the virus.

A health care worker walks into Loretto Hospital. Chicago's first COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Loretto Hospital, a 122-bed medical facility in the Austin neighborhood.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Another 53 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 16 people from Cook County, including a man in his 40s.

At least 19,739 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,130 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 2,825 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,152,995.

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: Chicago and Illinois are weeks into vaccinating people, and new cases, deaths and positivity rates are at their lowest point in months.

The state is administering an average of 55,135 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 1,256,289 vaccine doses of the 1,724,325 provided to it.

More than 281,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 223,790 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 428,100 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.

All together, at least 1,480,079 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois.

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The city is making “very good progress” on vaccinations, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream Tuesday morning. But Chicago and Illinois are getting a very limited supply of vaccine doses from the federal government, and demand has been great.

The federal government will likely start sending more vaccine doses per week to Chicago in several weeks, with the bump coming at the end of February or beginning of March, Arwady said.

“Getting Chicago vaccinated is what is going to get us past COVID,” Arwady said.

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 will also start vaccinating people with underlying conditions or disabilities starting Feb. 25.

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.

The city has released a roadmap detailing what metrics it will use to lift restrictions from businesses as it gets better control of its COVID-19 outbreak.

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 held at 3.3 percent Wednesday with 82,885 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, held at 4 percent Wednesday.

As of Tuesday night, 2,082 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 464 people in the ICU and 232 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, nine deaths and 398 confirmed cases were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 4,732 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 238,915 confirmed cases, according to state data.

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

An average of 466 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 23 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 9 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 4.7 percent, down from 5.6 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.

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