Illinois coronavirus vaccination ramps up — latest daily record number of shots 20 times the tally of new infections

Seven of Illinois’ most prolific vaccination days have been tallied up since Jan. 26, with the state’s rolling average of daily doses administered now rising to 49,082.

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A dose is administered earlier this week at Cook County’s second mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Triton College, 2000 5th Ave. in River Grove.

A dose is administered earlier this week at Cook County’s second mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Triton College, 2000 5th Ave. in River Grove.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Illinois public health officials on Friday announced another record-breaking day for COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, as the state logged 3,660 new cases of the disease and 83 more deaths attributed to it.

A total of 74,965 shots went into arms Thursday, nearly 10,000 more than the state’s previous high mark set earlier in the week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Seven of Illinois’ most prolific vaccination days have been tallied since Jan. 26, with the state’s rolling average of daily doses administered now rising to 49,082.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he expects the ramp-up to continue as shipments from the federal government gradually increase, as more vaccination sites are set up across the state — and as another vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson nears approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“I hope that we’ll see this third vaccine in the supply pipeline not too many weeks from now. In the meantime, we need to be patient,” Pritzker said after touring a Rockford vaccination site.

Since the first shots went into Illinois arms Dec. 15, more than 2.1 million vaccine doses have been shipped to the state and about 1.2 million have been injected. Only 272,444 people have received both doses required for full effectiveness — just 2.1% of the population.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus has infected 1.1 million Illinois residents dating back to March, and killed 19,526 of them.

Fifty-six of the latest fatal cases came from the Chicago area, including a Cook County man in his 30s.

About half of all the state’s deaths have occurred in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, but that ratio is slowly declining because about 188,000 vaccine doses have been administered at those sites. Pritzker said the skilled nursing homes that account for a vast majority of previous fatalities have all been covered “at least once.”

The latest cases announced by the state were diagnosed among 105,085 tests, decreasing the state’s seven-day average positivity rate to 3.3%, the lowest it’s been since Oct. 4.

Hospital admissions have also shrunk by about two-thirds compared to the worst days of the pandemic in late November. As of Thursday night, 2,318 beds were occupied statewide, with 491 patients receiving intensive care and 254 using ventilators.

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