Illinois’ COVID-19 case free fall took another leap in the right direction Friday as public health officials reported just 102 new cases of the disease — the fewest in a day since St. Patrick’s Day 2020.
That was a few days after hordes of revelers flocked to bars downtown despite ballooning concern over the novel coronavirus — less than a week after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, and three days before Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a sweeping stay-at-home order.
Since then, the virus has infected nearly 1.4 million residents statewide and killed 23,133 of them, including the latest 13 victims.
But with about two-thirds of Illinoisans 12 or older having received a COVID-19 vaccine dose and slightly more than half of those residents fully immunized, viral transmission has slowed to a crawl. The newest cases were diagnosed among 39,158 tests, sending the statewide average case positivity rate down to a new low of just 0.6%.
New COVID-19 cases by day
Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health
The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported a total of 928 new cases since Monday. The agency reported more than 15,000 cases on the worst day of the pandemic, Nov. 13, when the positivity rate raged beyond 13%.
Hospitals are treating fewer coronavirus patients than they’ve seen since the crisis started, with 524 beds occupied across Illinois Thursday night. Last fall, upwards of 6,000 patients were hospitalized.
About 50,000 more shots went into arms Thursday, with the state now averaging 42,153 vaccinations per day over the last week.
Pritzker’s health team is looking to boost that figure with a vaccine lottery. Anyone who’s gotten a shot by July 1 will automatically be entered into a July 8 drawing for a $1 million jackpot, or a $150,000 scholarship for minors. Additional drawings will be held through the summer.
“While our vaccination numbers in Illinois are good, we can’t stop there. We still need more people — as many people as possible, and there’s a pool of 3 million eligible people who are not yet vaccinated — we still need you to step up and get vaccinated,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
For help finding a vaccine appointment in Chicago, visit zocdoc.com or call (312) 746-4835. The city is offering in-home vaccinations to any resident 65 or older, as well as those with disabilities or underlying health conditions.
For suburban Cook County sites, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or call (833) 308-1988.
To find other Illinois providers, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.