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Illinois Set To Reopen June 11, Pritzker Says, As Coronavirus Cases Continue To Plunge

During Phase 5, capacity restrictions will be lifted at all businesses and life will return to a new "normal."

Tulips flourish across the street from the Chicago Theatre on State Street in the Loop on May 5, 2021.
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CHICAGO — Illinois is still on schedule to reopen June 11, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday, as coronavirus cases and other metrics are falling quickly around the state.

The state and city of Chicago have been taking steps toward reopening, but all coronavirus restrictions won’t be lifted until they move into Phase 5. Pritzker previously said he’d like to see that step taken June 11 — and this week, he confirmed the state is still on track for that goal.

“We are, and in fact it’s scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said Tuesday when asked if the state will move into Phase 5.

During Phase 5, capacity restrictions will be lifted at all businesses and life will return to a new “normal.”

The state and city have hit major coronavirus milestones in recent weeks, with new cases and positivity rates plunging to their lowest points since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The city is now seeing an average of just 143 new cases per day, a 42 percent drop from a week ago. Chicago’s average new cases are at the lowest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, an “amazing” change, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said in a Tuesday livestream.

The city also recorded a positivity rate of 2 percent Wednesday, the lowest that figure has been since March 2020, as well.

Those metrics have plunged since COVID-19 vaccines became more widely available. The vaccines have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

“We’re really doing very, very well,” Arwady said. “This has been predominantly, of course, because of the vaccine.”

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Younger children might be able to get vaccinated starting in the fall, Arwady said.

Fifty percent of Illinoisans 18 and older are fully vaccinated, and more than 67 percent have gotten at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Chicago, 52.1 percent of adults are fully vaccinated and 63.3 percent have gotten at least one shot, according to city data.

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Vaccine demand has fallen sharply recently, so officials are trying to make it easier for people to get the shots.

The state is helping community groups host vaccine events. Health departments are bringing vaccinations to workplaces, beaches, parks and more. The city has said it’ll bring vaccine vans to festivals and other events.

People getting vaccinated is still the best bet for ending the pandemic, reopening businesses and having the world return to normal, officials have said. More people getting vaccinated also means there are fewer chances for variants of COVID-19 to develop and spread, which would endanger people and pose a threat to reopening efforts.

In Illinois, about 5.3 million people of all ages — or 41.58 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots, according to state data.

Across the state, 41,234 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 11,338,305 vaccine doses of the 13,695,055 provided to them.

City data shows more than 1.1 million Chicagoans — or 41.8 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 52.1 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, 70.6 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 61.6 percent have finished their vaccination.

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

Another nine Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus since Tuesday.

The most recent coronavirus victims included five people from Cook County, including a woman in her 50s.

At least 22,842 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,399 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 478 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,383,065.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate fell slightly to 1.5 percent Wednesday with 35,697 tests reported. It was at 1.6 percent Tuesday. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.

Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell to 1.8 percent Wednesday. It was at 1.8 percent Tuesday.

As of Tuesday night, 1,013 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 278 people in the ICU and 150 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, no deaths and nine confirmed cases were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,363 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 284,417 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day, down from five per day the week prior.

An average of 143 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 42 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 14 percent since a week ago.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 2 percent, down from 2.9 percent the week before.

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