The coronavirus has spread to 4,822 more people and claimed an additional 107 Illinois lives, public health officials announced Wednesday.
Meanwhile, more than 29,000 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered statewide Tuesday as infection rates continue sinking across the board.
About 538,000 shots have gone into arms over the last month, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Only 112,823 people have received the required two doses for complete vaccination — still less than 1% of the population.
The state’s vaccine stockpile has more than 850,000 shots yet to be administered. Roughly 22,000 doses have been given each day over the past week, but that’s expected to scale up as Gov. J.B. Pritzker opens the distribution process to 3.2 million essential workers and people 65 or older beginning Jan. 25.
Illinois’ newest cases were detected among 86,121 tests, lowering the average rolling positivity rate to 5.5%, as low as it’s been since mid-October, before the state’s violent fall resurgence.
And hospitalizations are back down to levels not seen since Halloween. On Tuesday night, 3,284 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients — the first time that number has dipped below 3,300 in almost three months, and a 47% overall decline from the worst of the pandemic in mid-November.
While the state’s daily death rate has fallen almost 40% compared to a month ago, Wednesday’s count was well above Illinois’ average of 80 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past week.
Fifty-three of the latest victims were from the Chicago area, including a Cook County man in his 40s.
Nursing homes still account for about half the Illinois death toll, which is up to 18,398. About 86,000 vaccine doses have been administered so far in those long-term care facilities, which house about 110,000 people statewide.
Nearly 1.1 million people have been infected since last March, with a recovery rate of 98%.
The governor has loosened business restrictions in most parts of the state, while five of the state’s 11 regions have met his health team’s new metrics to allow indoor restaurant and bar service to resume.
That hasn’t happened yet in Chicago or suburban Cook County, which both reported positivity rates of 8%. It could happen within a few days, as those regions will go down to Tier 1 mitigations with three consecutive days below 8%.
South suburban bars and restaurants are poised to reopen Thursday in Will and Kankakee counties, as that region fell to 7.4% positivity.