State’s daily COVID-19 vaccine rate dips a bit, but Pritzker pushing for 100,000 shots a day soon: ‘That is tremendous’Mitchell Armentrouton March 5, 2021 at 1:25 am

Carmen Romero De Vaca, 52, a special education classroom assistant at James B. McPherson Elementary School in Ravenswood, receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Weiss Memorial Hospital on the North Side, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The federal government has shipped about 4 million doses in all since Illinois’ campaign started almost three months ago, and availability is expected to “soar” in the weeks ahead, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Another 93,302 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois, bringing the state’s shot total since December to nearly 3 million, public health officials announced Thursday.

Wednesday’s vaccine total marked the state’s fourth most productive day yet, but a week removed from its last 100,000-plus shot day, the state’s rolling average of daily doses administered decreased slightly to 78,942.

And still, only 952,141 residents — about 7.5% of the population — are considered fully vaccinated, either with both required doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or with the new one-and-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine that arrived in Illinois Wednesday.

The federal government has shipped about 4 million doses in all since Illinois’ campaign started almost three months ago. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said “vaccine availability is set to soar in the coming weeks.”

“We expect at least 100,000 doses per day in Illinois by mid-March. … That is tremendous,” Pritzker said at a news conference in downstate Centreville, near East St. Louis.

As the ramp-up continues, coronavirus infection rates are approaching all-time lows across the state.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,740 new cases of the disease were diagnosed among 73,990 tests, keeping the average statewide positivity rate at an eight-month low of 2.4%. Chicago’s regional rate is at 2.9%, its lowest point since the virus emerged.

And COVID-19 hospitalizations are lower than they ever got last summer, with 1,200 beds occupied as of Wednesday night.

But officials reported 42 more viral deaths, including that of a Will County woman in her 30s.

The virus is still claiming an average of 38 Illinois lives per day, down from a rate of 54 daily fatalities in early February.

Illinois’ coronavirus death toll is up to 20,668, among nearly 1.2 million people confirmed to carry the virus over the past year.

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