Illinois coronavirus: 2K more infected, 58K more vaccinated

The state passed a milestone last week with the number of administered vaccine doses surpassing the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

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Kimberly Thier, who monitors people who just received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, sanitizes a clipboard last week at Walmart in the Austin neighborhood. More than 1.4 million doses have been administered statewide so far.

Kimberly Thier, who monitors people who just received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, sanitizes a clipboard last week at Walmart in the Austin neighborhood. More than 1.4 million doses have been administered statewide so far.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Illinois public health officials on Tuesday reported the number of people who received COVID-19 vaccinations a day earlier was nearly 28 times higher than the number diagnosed with the respiratory disease. 

The 2,082 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed among 55,705 tests, keeping the average statewide positivity rate at a four-month low of 3.3%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

And another 58,189 shots went into arms, raising the state’s rolling average of vaccines administered per day to a new high of 55,455. 

The vaccination ramp-up slowly kicks into gear days after the state’s number of administered vaccine doses surpassed the state’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases.  That ratio is now up to 1.4 million doses administered compared to almost 1.2 million accumulated infections. 

Still, only 311,569 Illinois residents have received both required doses — not even 2.5% of the population — and experts agree tens of thousands of additional COVID-19 cases have gone undetected over the past year. 

About 266,000 shots have gone into arms in Chicago, with about 62,000 people fully vaccinated, but that figure includes many recipients who work in the city but live outside it. 

Walgreens and Uber announced the ride-hailing app will launch one of its pilot programs in Chicago providing free or discounted trips to branches of the drug store and some offsite clinics for people scheduled to receive vaccinations. That program will roll out “over the coming months as vaccines become available for mass distribution,” the companies said.

Meanwhile, the state has reported an average of 2,750 new cases of the disease per day over the past week, down from a daily rate of nearly 7,000 a month ago. 

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The state’s death rate has declined as well. Officials reported 20 more people died with COVID-19, including nine Chicago-area residents. 

That’s less than half Illinois’ daily average of 55 COVID-19 fatalities, compared to 118 this time last month. 

Hospital admissions have shrunk back to October levels, too, with 2,117 beds occupied by COVID-19 patients as of Monday night. That figure topped 6,000 in the worst stretch of the pandemic. 

The virus has claimed 19,686 Illinois lives since last March. 

Also on Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Public Health updated its emergency travel advisory, which now requires arriving travelers to quarantine or bring a negative test result if coming from states or territories considered COVID-19 hot spots. For now, that means anywhere except Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota or Puerto Rico. 

Regardless, city officials say Chicagoans “are strongly advised to cancel non-essential travel.”

Quarantining or bringing along a negative COVID-19 tests are required for travelers coming to Chicago from areas marked orange on this map.

Quarantining or bringing along a negative COVID-19 tests are required for travelers coming to Chicago from areas marked orange on this map.

Chicago Department of Public Health

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Monday the improving infection numbers mean the city could soon officially reopen lakefront parks. Mayor Lori Lightfoot reopened the Lakefront Trail in June but kept parks east of it closed — not that that kept many people away in the fall and summer, or that anyone will be flocking there this frigid February.

“Though the Chicago case numbers have dropped of late, this is not a time to let our guard down,” a health department spokesperson said in a statement. “To maintain the current trajectory, we must double down on what we know prevents COVID spread. This includes wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands and staying at home as much as you can.”

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