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Coronavirus Kills 55 More People In Illinois, But Numbers ‘Looking Really Good’ For Chicago As Deaths Fall And Vaccinations Rise

April will be "much bigger" for Chicago in terms of vaccinations — and May will see even more than that, the city's top health official said.

Jada Johnson receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Armando Ambriz, medical assistant, in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood on Feb. 19, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Another 55 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 30 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 20s and a man in his 30s.

At least 20,863 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,259 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 1,700 confirmed cases in the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,204,409.

Deaths and new cases have dropped after a fall peak, and the state’s and city’s positivity rates are at their lowest-ever points. Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the city’s metrics are dropping, though she’s still concerned about the number of cases per day being reported in Chicago.

“But, generally, the numbers are looking really good,” Arwady said during a Thursday morning livestream. Deaths are “heading in the right direction.”

And more good vaccine news came over the weekend, as the United Center mass vaccination site has filled more than 50,000 appointments. More spots will open in the weeks to come. And, soon, Chicago and Illinois will have even more doses supplied to them.

Nearly one in five Illinoisans has gotten at least their first dose of vaccine so far, Gov. JB Pritzker said.

There’s still a shortage of vaccine around the United States, Pritzker previously 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.

April will be “much bigger” for Chicago in terms of vaccinations — and May will see even more than that, Arwady said.

RELATED: A Year Of Loss: COVID-19 Has Killed More Than 4,500 Chicagoans. For These Families, Life Will Never Be The Same

The state is administering an average of 98,166 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 3,327,578 vaccine doses of the 4,488,655 directly provided to them.

More than 674,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 353,125 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 414,900 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.

All together, at least 3,680,703 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 4,903,555 doses provided to state entities.

Arwady said she’s pushing for the state to send more doses to Chicago and the surrounding area since 35-40 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.

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.

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 getting closer every single day to the end of this pandemic, but we’re not there yet,” Pritzker said Tuesday.

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.

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 last week. “The risk gets lower with every additional person who gets vaccinated.”

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate fell slightly to 2.2 percent Thursday with 89,893 tests reported. It was at 2.3 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 slightly to 2.5 Thursday. It was at 2.6 percent Wednesday.

As of Wednesday night, 1,118 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 231 people in the ICU and 102 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, 11 deaths and 298 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 4,938 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 248,283 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of four 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 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 271 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 6 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 1 percent.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 2.8 percent, down from 2.9 percent the week before.

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