CHICAGO — Illinois once again broke its record for coronavirus vaccinations, with more than 134,000 shots given in a single day Friday.
The state reported a combined 232,789 doses administered Friday and Saturday, including 134,239 Friday — making it the single-best day for vaccinations in the state.
More good vaccine news came over the weekend, as the United Center mass vaccination site has filled all 110,000 of its spots. More appointments there will open in the weeks to come.
And, soon, Chicago and Illinois will have even more doses supplied to them.
“The increasing supply of vaccine is, frankly, very, very exciting,” Gov. JB Pritzker said at a Friday news conference.
More than 20 percent of Illinoisans 16 and older have gotten at least their first shot of vaccine — and that rises to 44 percent among Illinoisans 65 and older, Pritzker said.
“That’s great progress, but there is much more work to be done,” Pritzker said at a news conference Friday. “What a relief it will be when we get everyone vaccinated and everyone can know that they’re safe from this virus.”
There’s still a shortage of vaccine around the United States, Pritzker said, but “vaccine availability is set to soar in the coming weeks.” Federal officials told state leaders they’d soon be able to provide 18 million doses per week, he said, and Illinois expects to get about 100,000 doses per day by mid-March.
The city’s health chief, Dr. Allison Arwady, made similar statements last week.
“By late spring, we are gonna be in a place where I think there will be plenty of vaccine,” Arwady said Wednesday.
The state is administering an average of 93,183 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 3,013,645 vaccine doses of the 3,824,675 directly provided to them.
More than 620,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.
Another 344,569 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 3,358,214 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 4,268,375 doses provided to state entities.
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.
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.
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.
Pritzker said he and the state’s experts are looking at what restrictions they can roll back, but they need to judge that against the continuing risks of the pandemic — especially since more contagious variants of the virus have been found in Illinois.
“… We’re gonna try to make sure we’re moving the economy forward as we’re bringing down the caseload,” Pritzker said. “The first thing that comes to mind for me when I reflect on this year, it’s the safety and health of the people of Illinois that has weighed on me every day … and then the financial health of people who have lost their jobs.
“… Now, we need to take care of people’s financial situations.”
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 64 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the weekend. The most recent victims included 23 people from Cook County, including a man in his 30s and four people in their 40s.
At least 20,763 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,251 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 3,633 confirmed cases during the weekend. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,198,335.
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.
“If you’re gonna be out, please just wear the mask, keep practicing caution,” Arwady said Thursday. “The risk gets lower with every additional person who gets vaccinated.”
Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate rose slightly to 2.3 percent Sunday with 68,094 tests reported. It was at 2.2 percent Friday. 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 2.8 Sunday.
As of Saturday night, 1,141 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 255 people in the ICU and 112 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, eight deaths and 738 confirmed cases were reported since Friday. There have been at least 4,921 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 247,281 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of five deaths per day, down from an average of six deaths per day the week prior. That’s the lowest that figure has been in months, Arwady previously said. 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 276 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 6 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 2 percent.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at an all-time low of 2.8 percent, down from 2.9 percent the week before.
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