CHICAGO — Another 32 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.
The most recent victims included 10 people from Cook County, including a man in his 20s and a man in his 50s.
At least 20,406 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,201 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 1,884 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,181,226.
But there are signs of hope: Chicago and Illinois are weeks into vaccinating people, and new cases, deaths and positivity rates are falling. Chicago’s positivity rate and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-like illnesses are at their lowest-ever points.
“This kind of progress has come because we have been doing the things that work here in Chicago,” like social distancing and wearing a mask, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Friday. “And we need people to keep doing this.”
The state is administering an average of 66,274 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 2,145,041 vaccine doses of the 2,693,345 directly provided to them.
More than 460,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.
Another 295,909 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 2,440,950 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 3,139,545 doses provided to entities in the state.
About one in seven Illinoisans has received their first shot, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday. Still, the state lags behind others — and Illinois is last in the nation for second doses administered.
But Pritzker said Illinois will get an average of 100,000 doses per day as early as mid-March, helping speed up vaccinations in the state.
“Things are getting better. This pandemic will end,” Pritzker said. “But, in the meantime, we have to mask up, we have to help each other out and we’ll get through this together.”
Chicago expects to get more vaccine doses soon, too. Last week, the city got about 7,000 first doses of vaccine per day; but this week, the city will get more than 8,300 first doses per day for the first time, Arwady said.
By the end of the week, Chicago will have received enough doses to vaccinate 31 percent of all people eligible under Phase 1B, Arwady said.
The progress means one in nine Chicagoans has now gotten their first shot of a vaccine, Arwady said; and that number rises to one in four Chicagoans among people 65 and older.
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 also vaccinating people with underlying conditions or disabilities. Chicago has not added people with underlying conditions or disabilities to its Phase 1B.
The city expects to get more doses per week in March — and Chicago will be getting “way more vaccine” in April, Arwady said Thursday. That will allow the city to make more people eligible for vaccinations.
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.
Hopefully, restrictions will be raised during the next few months, Arwady said, “but we’re still at a point where we need to be careful.”
At the same time, a more contagious variant of the virus from the United Kingdom has been found in Chicago.
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.
“We need to get closer to herd immunity for everybody to feel that we’re beyond on Phase 4 and for us to actually be able to reopen everything entirely,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “We’ll get there. But we have to get vaccines into people’s arms.”
Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate fell to 2.5 percent Thursday with 91,292 tests reported. It was at 2.6 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 2.7 percent Thursday. It was at 2.8 percent Wednesday.
As of Wednesday night, 1,463 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 334 people in the ICU and 168 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, nine deaths and 231 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 4,859 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 243,483 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of five deaths per day, down from an average of nine deaths per day the week prior. That’s the lowest that figure has been in months, Arwady said Thursday. During the peak of the second, fall surge in the pandemic, nearly 25 people per day were being killed by COVID-19; during the peak of the first surge in the spring, nearly 50 people were killed per day.
An average of 254 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 25 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 12 percent.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at an all-time low of 3 percent, down from 3.6 percent the week before.
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