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Coronavirus Kills 34 More In Illinois, But Pritzker Says End Of Pandemic Is ‘In Sight’

The number of new cases being reported in Chicago fell from its fall peak — but now it's stalled, and the city is still not considered low risk.

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CHICAGO — Another 34 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

The most recent victims included nine people from Cook County, including a man in his 50s.

At least 21,022 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,265 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 2,325 confirmed cases over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,216,090.

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday all Illinoisans 16 and older will be eligible for vaccinations starting April 12 as more doses are coming into the state. He also detailed how the state will reopen in coming weeks — as long as more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 cases and deaths don’t surge.

“It’s time to begin to cautiously move to normalcy, and it’s imperative that we do so in a way that maintains all of the progress that we’ve made to date,” he said at a news conference. Later, he said, “Folks, this is an exciting day. Although we still are in the midsts of a global pandemic, the end seems truly to be in sight.”

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 start 1C vaccinations on March 29.

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

Across Illinois, an average of 99,210 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 4,016,130 vaccine doses of the 5,172,415 directly provided to them.

More than 812,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.

Another 359,041 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 4,375,171 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois out of 5,587,315 doses provided to state entities.

Arwady previously 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 number of new cases being reported in Chicago fell from its fall peak — but now it’s stalled, and the city is still not considered low risk, Arwady said.

Still, 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.

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 2.4 percent Thursday with 89,817 tests reported. It was at 2.2 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, rose slightly to 2.7 percent Thursday. It was at 2.6 Wednesday.

As of Wednesday night, 1,120 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 252 people in the ICU and 100 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, five deaths and 540 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 4,968 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 250,568 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of three deaths per day, down from an average of four 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 295 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 9 percent increase from the previous week. At the same time, testing has risen 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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