CHICAGO — More than 7 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of this weekend.
Officials are rushing to vaccinate people as a third surge forms in Chicago and throughout Illinois. New cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates are on the rise, and officials have said they fear a third wave is forming. Another 29 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus and 6,572 cases were found over the weekend.
Chicago has sped up its vaccination timeline, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot announcing all Chicago adults will be eligible for the shots come April 19. Illinois outside of Chicago opened vaccinations to everyone 16 and older Monday — and on Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker said Chicagoans who will still be ineligible in the city can instead go to state-run sites in the suburbs.
Eligibility is opening as more doses are coming to the city and the rest of Illinois from the federal government.
Current vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at preventing serious illness and death among those more common variants, but the vast majority of Chicagoans have not yet been fully vaccinated.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across and Chicago’s and Illinois’ positivity rates are also rising. Deaths remain low, with an average of three per day in Chicago; but officials have previously said those losses lag behind other figures.
“The question is going to be: With vaccine in the mix, if we can get a lot of the highest-risk folks vaccinated quickly, will we see the impact on these severe outcomes?” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, previously said.
Arwady said, as of now, she does not have a “major concern” about overwhelming the health care system and seeing a “huge number of deaths … but the increase in cases really has the potential to cause significant illness, hospitalizations and potentially some increase in death again.”
People should avoid gathering, especially if all people at the gathering are not fully vaccinated or if there will be people present who would be at increased risk from coronavirus, Arwady said.
At the same time, the city has maintained its loosened rules on businesses, allowing for more people to gather at restaurants and bars. Chicago also recently loosening restrictions on outdoor activities in a bid to get people to spend more time outside, where it’s harder for the virus to spread.
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Reopening is also stalled on a statewide level. Though more than 70 percent of Illinoisans 65 and older have now gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the rising number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 means the state can’t move into its “Bridge Phase.”
Another 29 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus since Friday. The most recent victims included nine people from Cook County, including three men in their 40s.
At least 21,505 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,288 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 6,572 confirmed cases over the weekend. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,279,772.
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Across Illinois, an average of 126,827 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 7,178,611 vaccine doses of the 9,001,105 provided to them.
City data shows 1,472,715 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans in the city, and 1,651,565 doses have been administered in the city overall.
People are still at risk from COVID-19 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 4.2 percent Sunday with 69,600 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 to 4.9 percent Sunday. It was at 4.8 percent Friday.
As of Saturday night, 1,834 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 409 people in the ICU and 176 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, seven deaths and 1,386 confirmed cases were reported since Friday. There have been at least 5,070 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 264,540 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of three deaths per day, down from an average of four 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 675 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 14 percent increase from the previous week. At the same time, testing has risen by 5 percent since a week ago.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 5.6 percent, up from 5.1 percent the week before.
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