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City Should Have ‘Plenty’ Of Vaccine Doses By Late Spring, Top Doc Says — But State Asked To Send More Doses To Chicago

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said 38 percent of the city's doses have gone to non-residents and some rural areas are more vaccinated than parts of the city.

Leticia Vargas places a candle at the Floral Heart Project as Chicagoans gather at Buckingham Fountain to remember those who lost their lives to COVID-19 on March 1, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — With 38 percent of Chicago’s vaccine doses going to people who don’t live in the city, public health officials are hoping Gov. JB Pritzker will send more doses our way.

Even if that doesn’t happen, good news is on the horizon, said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“By late spring, we are gonna be in a place where I think there will be plenty of vaccine,” she said Wednesday.

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The state is administering an average of 84,202 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 2,571,546 vaccine doses of the 3,392,925 directly provided to them.

More than 546,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 328,795 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 443,700 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.

All together, at least 2,900,341 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 3,836,625 doses provided to state entities.

About one in seven Illinoisans has received their first shot, Gov. JB Pritzker said Friday. Still, the state lags behind others — and Illinois is last in the nation for second doses administered.

One in eight Chicagoans has now gotten their first shot of a vaccine, Arwady said Wednesday. That number rises to one in three Chicagoans among people 65 and older.

More doses are coming, too: 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. Johnson & Johnson doses could arrive as soon as this week in Chicago.

And a mass vaccination site will open March 10 outside the United Center, with officials able to do 6,000 vaccinations a day. Doses will be provided by the federal government and won’t come from the city’s or state’s supplies.

Arwady said she’s pushing for the state to send more doses to Chicago and the surrounding area since 38 percent of the city’s doses have gone to non-residents. She said rural areas in the state are currently more vaccinated than parts of Chicago.

In comparison, about 21 percent of Chicago residents who have been vaccinated got their shot outside the city.

Still, in the next two months, the city will move from not having enough vaccine doses to having “plenty,” she 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 is also vaccinating people with underlying conditions or disabilities, though Chicago has not added people with underlying conditions or disabilities to its current round of vaccinations.

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.

Hopefully, restrictions will be raised during the next few months, Arwady previously said, “but we’re still at a point where we need to be careful.”

Another 44 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day, and the most recent victims included eight people from Cook County, including a woman in her 50s.

At least 20,626 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,227 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 2,104 confirmed cases during the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,191,520.

At the same time, a more contagious variant of the virus from the United Kingdom has been found in Chicago.

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 2.4 percent Wednesday with 80,854 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, rose slightly to 2.9 percent Wednesday. It was at 2.8 percent Tuesday.

As of Tuesday night, 1,260 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 275 people in the ICU and 138 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, four deaths and 388 confirmed cases were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 4,898 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 245,665 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of six deaths per day, down from an average of seven 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 291 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 9 percent increase from the previous week. At the same time, testing has increased by 12 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at an all-time low of 2.9 percent, down from 3.1 percent the week before.

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