Latest statewide vaccine doses below average, but Pritzker sees hope with United Center, other sites in the game
About 9.4% of state residents have been fully vaccinated, and about half of seniors have gotten at least one dose, officials said. “We’re getting closer every single day to the end of this pandemic,” Pritzker said. “ But we’re not there yet.”
As the first COVID-19 shots went into arms outside the United Center Tuesday, public health officials announced another 75,372 vaccinations had been administered statewide the day before.
Monday’s shot total was nearly double the figure from a day earlier when fewer than 30,000 doses were given out, but it was still barely half the state’s record high of more than 134,000 set last week.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he expects those numbers to consistently increase as vaccine supply grows and as more vaccination sites are up and running like that outside the Near West Side stadium.
Illinois providers are now doling out an average of 92,180 shots per day, “a number that’s already growing every week,” Pritzker said at the United Center.
Twelve weeks since the first vaccine shipments arrived in Illinois, almost 3.5 million shots have been administered. About 1.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated since then, or about 9.4% of the population.
Half of all Illinoisans 65 or older have gotten at least one shot, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Overall, about a fifth of residents 16 or older have gotten a dose, Pritzker said.
The state’s gradually increasing vaccine uptake has seen coronavirus infection numbers dip to pandemic lows.
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Officials reported 1,510 new cases were diagnosed among the latest 53,445 tests to keep Illinois’ rolling positivity rate at 2.3% — just a notch above the all-time low of 2.2% the state reached for a day last week. And COVID-19 hospitalizations are about as low as they’ve been in a year, with 1,177 beds occupied statewide as of Monday night.
Officials also reported 16 more viral deaths, including that of a Kane County woman in her 30s. Illinois is still averaging roughly 29 COVID-19 deaths per day, down from a rate of about 55 per day in early February.
Chicago officials are loosening travel restrictions as infection rates improve in other parts of the country, too, as the city shortened its list of destinations considered COVID-19 hot spots from 31 to 24 states.
Travelers from those “orange” states are required to quarantine upon arrival in Chicago, or else have proof of a negative test. That includes New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Connecticut, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Vermont, Kentucky, Alabama, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Alaska, Utah, Nebraska, Virginia, and New Hampshire, plus Washington D.C.
Officials still recommend against unnecessary travel to the remaining 25 “yellow” states. Restrictions don’t apply to people who have been fully vaccinated.
“We’re getting closer every single day to the end of this pandemic, but we’re not there yet,” Pritzker said.
More than 1.2 million people have been infected in Illinois over the past year, and 20,781 of them have died.