More than 50K new vaccine doses given in Illinois as state reports 3,751 COVID-19 cases, 81 deaths

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations is on the rise in Illinois, as promising trends in a declining number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue Wednesday.

In its latest daily update the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,751 new confirmed and probable Covid cases, 2,931 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as well as 81 additional deaths.

All three indicators have continued a downward trend which began in late November, but hospitalizations and cases are still double the lowest point seen in the summer, while a weekly average of 80 deaths a day is four times the level seen in late August.

The IDPH posted the biggest single-day increase in new vaccinations since they began just over a month ago on Wednesday, reporting 53,628 doses administered.

Illinois is now averaging more than 30,000 doses a day when measured over a 7-day period, although a dashboard created by the New York Times ranks it among the bottom third of states in terms of the percent of doses the state has received that have made it in to people’s arms.

According to the IDPH, Illinois has received 1,790,350 total doses while 773,623 — about 43% of the total — have been administered. Roughly 1% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.

The Biden administration said yesterday it would begin giving states approximately 17% more vaccine doses starting next week after some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments due to a lack of supply.

The IDPH also said Wednesday that due to new CDC guidance, each vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be considered to have six doses instead of five, roughly increasing supplies of that vaccine by 20%.

Health officials said previously that the extra amount in each vial was not being used in order to give some flexibility when vaccines were being administered.

Positive signs are being seen across the country, allowing several other states to also loosen their coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and other businesses even as officials monitor the spread of a more contagious variant taking hold in the U.S.

Illinois ranks among the middle of states and territories in the number of cases reported over the past week compared to the total population, according to the CDC.

While regions across the Chicago area remain under “Tier 1” of the state’s resurgence mitigation measures, most of the state has returned to the “Phase 4” restrictions put in place over the summer. Only the Metro East region outside St. Louis remains under “Tier 2” restrictions.

The City of Chicago is the nearest to the 6.5% positivity rate needed to roll back “Tier 1,” with a 7-day average of 6.9% as of January 24.

Under “Phase 4,” indoor service at bars that don’t serve food can resume, while entertainment venues like bowling alleys and ice rinks are allowed to reopen, in addition to an expansion of capacity limits and group size restrictions.

The Chicago Department of Public Health reported a 7-day average of 673 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths Wednesday, as well as a 7-day test positivity rate of 6.6%. A delay in reporting often leads to a difference in reporting between state and city health officials.

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