Statewide COVID-19 cases surpass 1 million
The graph shows the number of COVID-19 tests completed each day (blue), next to the number of positive cases those tests yield (red), according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
Vaccinations continue with reduced federal delivery as state eyes new phase
By GRACE BARBIC
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois has reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
“In a pandemic that has contained far too many tragic milestones, today’s marking of one million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Illinois deserves particular recognition,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release.
The state reported 8,757 newly confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday for a statewide total of just over 1 million cases. An additional 177 deaths were reported for a total of 17,272 since the pandemic began.
Hospitalization rates remained nearly identical to previous days, with a slight drop in hospitalizations and ICU patients, and a nearly consistent number of patients on ventilators.
As of Wednesday night 3,921 COVID-19 patients were reported hospitalized, a decrease of seven from the day prior. There were 783 patients in intensive care unit beds, a decrease of 74 from the day prior, and 450 on ventilators, one less than the day prior.
The seven-day rolling average case positivity rate increased slightly to 8.5 percent Thursday compared to the prior day report of 8.4 percent.
The governor’s office also announced a statewide mask mandate has been extended through a subsequent emergency rule that was filed Monday and will be in effect for an additional 150 days.
As of Tuesday night, approximately 344,525 total doses of Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines have been delivered to Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago.
Federal supply issues have resulted in delivery reductions, according to the governor. The state is receiving approximately 120,000 doses per week, 60,000 each of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
From this lower than expected number of vaccine doses, Pritzker said the federal government pulls an allotment of doses from each delivery to put towards its long-term care vaccination program.
Approximately 114,075 doses from Illinois’ latest allotment, outside the city of Chicago, have been set aside for this purpose.
The long-term care vaccination program is being facilitated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with CVS, Walgreens and Managed Health Care Associates Inc. to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
About 850,000 residents are eligible for the first phase of vaccinations currently underway, which includes health care workers and long-term care facility residents.
Illinois as a whole has administered approximately 207,106 total vaccine doses to date, including Tuesday’s first round of second doses for recipients who received the first dose in mid-December.
That number also includes vaccinations through the federal long-term care vaccination program. Pritzker noted the program’s partners started vaccinating in Illinois on Dec. 28, nearly two weeks after the state’s first delivery of vaccinations.
“Now that vaccine distribution has begun, we can see the light at the end of this difficult time – let’s do everything we can to ensure all of our neighbors are able to be there as we cross that finish line, healthy as well,” Pritzker said.
“With that goal in mind, I encourage all Illinoisans to choose to receive the protections of the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn in line.”
The next eligible group for vaccinations after the current phase will include non-health care frontline essential workers and residents age 65 years or older.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.