COVID-19 cases on the rise as Illinois continues to dole out vaccines at record pace

Illinois is seeing a troubling upward trend in its coronavirus data as the state continues to vaccinate residents at a record pace.

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Karen Jozefowicz receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Wrigley Field, which opened as a mass vaccination site earlier this month.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Illinois is seeing a troubling upward trend in coronavirus cases as the state continues to vaccinate residents at a record pace.

State health officials on Sunday announced 2,942 new and probable COVID-19 cases and an additional 16 virus-related deaths. That brings the state’s pandemic totals to 1,279,772 cases and 21,505 deaths.

Sunday’s new cases were detected among 69,600 tests processed by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day. That keeps the statewide seven-day positivity rate at a 10-week high of 4.2%.

Illinois is averaging about 3,204 new cases each day this month, up sharply from the first 11 days of last month when the state recorded a daily average of 1,610.

Officials have said the uptick in cases is led by younger adults.

The state has also seen an increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the last month. As of Saturday night, 1,834 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients — up 23% from last week. Of those, 409 were in intensive care units and 173 were on ventilators, officials said.

The rise in cases comes as Illinois is vaccinating more people than ever.

The state injected 131,285 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, marking the fifth consecutive day Illinois has inoculated more than 130,000 in a single day. Over the last week, Illinois has reported three record-setting vaccination days, including Friday when the state administered an all-time high of 175,681 shots.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 126,827 doses.

In total, the state has doled out nearly 7.2 million coronavirus vaccines since mid-December. However, only 2.85 million Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks removed from their final dose, according to the IDPH website. That’s just over 22% of the state’s population — well under the 80% needed for herd immunity.

Illinois is expanding eligibility for the vaccine this week. All residents 16 or older will be eligible for inoculation, starting Monday, though that excludes Chicago providers who won’t expand eligibility to all adults until April 19.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office announced Sunday that the United Center mass vaccination site will begin to use the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for walk-in appointments, starting April 20. That said, the United Center drive-thru will continue to inject second doses of Pfizer into the arms of people who already received their first dose at the mass vaccination site. 

Appointments are required for the West Side mass vaccination site and will be available beginning Monday. Chicagoans can book appointments at or by calling (312) 746-4835.

For additional help finding an appointment, visit or call (833) 621-1284.

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