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Coronavirus Kills 19 People In Illinois, Bringing Death Toll At Least 20,973

But the state is looking for ways to loosen restrictions as vaccinations increase and the pandemic's end comes into view.

Elizabeth Zimnie (center), an ER nurse at Norwegian American Hospital, receives the COVID-19 vaccination administered by Dr. Abha Agrawal (left), chief medical officer at Norwegian American Hospital at Loretto Hospital in Chicago on Dec. 15, 2020.
Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Pool
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CHICAGO — Another 19 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included 10 people from Cook County, including a woman in her 40s.

At least 20,973 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,262 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 1,997 confirmed cases over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,212,110.

More than 4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Illinois as of this weekend, and Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is now getting about 100,000 doses per day provided by the federal government, allowing it to increase vaccinations. Pritzker said Friday he thinks all Illinoisans will be eligible by May.

“I feel very confident moving forward that supplies are increasing,” Pritzker said. “… I’m confident that not just by May 1 but maybe even a little bit earlier we could open up to everyone in the state, everyone that’s eligible.”

More doses are coming to the city, too. April and May will be especially big for vaccinations, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday livestream. The city will detail its 1C vaccination plans on Wednesday, she 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 102,564 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 3,824,670 vaccine doses of the 4,982,225 directly provided to them.

More than 771,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 356,427 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 4,181,097 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 5,397,125 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

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. Arwady 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 last week. Deaths are “heading in the right direction.”

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 last week.

The governor will release a plan later this week for how Illinois will loosen up on restrictions as vaccinations increase and the outbreak comes under better control.

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 earlier this month. “The risk gets lower with every additional person who gets vaccinated.”

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate rose slightly to 2.3 percent Tuesday with 51,240 tests reported. It was at 2.2 percent Monday. 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 2.6 Tuesday.

As of Monday night, 1,152 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 250 people in the ICU and 124 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, three deaths and 361 confirmed cases were reported since Monday. There have been at least 4,959 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 249,783 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of three deaths per day, down from an average of five 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 283 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 3 percent increase from the previous week. At the same time, testing has decreased by 1 percent since a week ago.

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

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