Reporters were shown around the vaccination area Dec. 11 at Rush University Medical Center in the Medical District. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Another 41 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 24 people from Cook County, including a man in his 20s.

At least 20,002 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,164 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 1,420 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,163,574.

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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. Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.7 percent Monday, the lowest it’s been throughout the pandemic.

The state is administering an average of 66,320 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 1,574,283 vaccine doses of the 2,027,725 provided to it.

More than 351,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 248,925 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 1,823,308 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois.

More than 10 percent of people in Illinois have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine — still, the state lags behind others.

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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, 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.

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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.

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 slightly to 2.9 percent Monday with 52,389 tests reported. It was at 3 percent Sunday. 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 3.5 percent Monday. It was at 3.6 percent Sunday.

As of Sunday night, 1,789 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 389 people in the ICU and 184 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, five deaths and 244 confirmed cases were reported since Sunday. There have been at least 4,782 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 240,933 confirmed cases, according to state data.

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

An average of 360 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 30 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 3.7 percent, down from 5 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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