CHICAGO (WGN) — Illinois remains within the deadliest period of the COVID-19 pandemic to date Monday, even as the first wave of vaccinations provides new hope for turning the tide against the disease.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,214 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Monday, as well as 103 additional deaths.
This is the first time the state has seen seven consecutive days with more than 100 lives lost to COVID-19. After beginning to rise in mid-October, the state’s 7-day average of deaths has remained near an all-time high of about 150 a day since Dec. 6.
The high number of deaths began about three weeks after a resurgence in COVID-19 infections in Illinois reached its highest level in mid-November.
Other than a slight rise about a week ago, the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases continued to decline to about 8,550 as of Monday.
All this comes as the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history got underway Monday as shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at hospitals across the country after it received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
Illinois is expecting 109,000 total doses in the initial shipment of the vaccine, which will be divided up among the counties reporting the most Covid-related deaths and administered to frontline healthcare workers.
Chicago’s 34 hospitals say they’re ready to receive up to 2,000 of the 23,000 doses allocated for the city following weeks of preparation amid a sustained surge of the virus.
While experts warned a post-Thanksgiving surge in new COVID-19 cases could begin around the end of last week, the 7-day case positivity rate from Dec. 7-13 in Illinois declined to 8.7% Monday. Most regions of Illinois continue to see flat or declining test positivity rates as well.
While all of Illinois remains under Tier 3 coronavirus mitigation measures, the East-Central Region reached the state’s original criteria for moving to less-restrictive Tier 2 over the weekend.
However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said previously that regions would remain under Tier 3 over the weeks following Thanksgiving due to the predicted surge in cases caused by holiday travel.
With 92,256 new COVID-19 tests reported Monday, the state’s weekly average is about 99,000 tests a day, near where it has been for the past week as well.
Coronavirus hospitalizations also continue to decline, with IDPH reporting 4,951 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday night, including 1070 in intensive care and 621 on ventilators.
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