CHICAGO — Illinois has now vaccinated 10 percent of its population against coronavirus, the state announced Friday.
COVID-19 is still sickening and killing people, but there are signs of hope: Vaccinations throughout Chicago and Illinois have sped up in recent weeks, and new cases, deaths and positivity rates are down.
Another 32 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day. The most recent victims included 14 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 50s.
At least 19,873 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,154 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 2,598 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,158,431.
The state is administering an average of 59,009 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 1,412,669 vaccine doses of the 1,940,425 provided to it.
More than 313,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.
Another 231,814 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 445,200 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.
All together, at least 1,644,483 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois, and 10 percent of Illinoisans have gotten their first shot. The state broke its record for vaccinations done in a day with 95,375 doses administered Thursday.
Still, the state lags behind others.
The city is also 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, though Pritzker said Thursday there is still a “massive” shortage of doses. Chicago will not add people with underlying conditions or disabilities to its Phase 1B.
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. Students also started returning to schools Thursday.
At the same time, a more contagious variant of the virus from the United Kingdom has been found in Chicago. A variant first found in South Africa has also been discovered in Illinois.
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 3.1 percent Friday with 103,009 tests reported. It was at 3.3 percent Thursday. 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 slightly to 3.7 percent Friday. It was at 3.9 percent Thursday.
As of Thursday night, 1,915 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 437 people in the ICU and 211 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 11 deaths and 535 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 4,768 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 240,025 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of seven deaths per day, down from an average of 12 deaths per day the week prior.
An average of 456 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 19 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 8 percent.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 4.6 percent, down from 5.3 percent the week before.
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