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Coronavirus Kills 22 More Illinoisans, But Cases, Hospitalizations Down Sharply As Chicago And State Reopen

"Our city is back," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “We are poised to roar back, to provide more business, more opportunity and, importantly, more jobs to Chicagoans.”

A worker speaks with a patron about to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the mass vaccination site in the Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University on April 7, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Another 22 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus Friday, the same day Chicago and the rest of Illinois fully reopened.

Now that Illinois and Chicago are in Phase 5 of reopening, capacity restrictions have been lifted at businesses and all large events — including festivals, conventions and big weddings — are allowed without capacity limits.

All people will still need to wear masks in certain places — including schools, health care facilities and on public transit — but fully vaccinated people won’t need masks in most settings.

“Our city is back,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Friday news conference. “We are poised to roar back, to provide more business, more opportunity and, importantly, more jobs to Chicagoans.”

Lightfoot said Chicagoans endured “incredible hardship” during the past 15 months, but they showed, “We are strong. We are resilient. And we are back.”

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Chicago will continue to make progress so long as more people get vaccinated.

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Unvaccinated people should still wear masks in most public settings, officials have said.

The change — which residents have waited for since the pandemic started in March 2020 — comes as vaccines have become widely available and, as a result, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have fallen statewide.

Earlier in the week, Arwady said Chicago is seeing “exponential decay” in new cases. And fewer people getting infected means there are fewer people to spread COVID-19, leading to the quick decrease, Arwady said.

But the city is still seeing new cases, with the bulk of them coming in areas where people are less vaccinated, Arwady said.

Now that vaccines are widely available to people 12 and older, about 98 percent of new cases and deaths are among people who are not fully vaccinated, Arwady has previously said.

Last week, Arwady said the city has seen cases among young people, and the best thing people can do to protect children younger than 12 is to “get everybody vaccinated around them.”

It’s possible there will be another surge of cases in the fall and winter, which could mean restrictions are brought back, Arwady and Lightfoot said last week. But for now, the numbers look good, Arwady said.

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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.

The vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

In Illinois, about 5.7 million people of all ages — or 44.78 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots, according to state data.

Across the state, 42,083 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 11,863,456 vaccine doses of the 13,924,075 provided to them.

City data shows more than 1.2 million Chicagoans — or 45.8 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 53.2 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, 70.3 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 64 percent have finished their vaccination.

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The most recent coronavirus victims included 11 people from Cook County, including a man in his 30s.

At least 23,035 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,417 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 401 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,387,029.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 1 percent Friday with 39,661 tests reported. 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, held at 1.3 percent Friday.

As of Thursday night, 707 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 185 people in the ICU and 94 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, 13 deaths and 162 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,427 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 285,239 confirmed cases, according to state data.

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

An average of 79 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 41 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 18 percent since a week ago.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 1.4 percent, down from 1.9 percent the week before.

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