More than 6 million COVID-19 vaccinations have now gone into Illinois arms, public health officials announced Friday.

The state passed that mark almost four months into the unprecedented inoculation effort as 124,870 shots were administered Thursday.

From the 6,043,292 total vaccinations performed since mid-December, only about 2.3 million residents have been fully immunized — about 17.8% of the population, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

But more than 70% of the state’s seniors have gotten at least one dose, a benchmark that would have allowed for additional business restrictions to loosen under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “bridge phase” plan to a full reopening.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

That plan was thrown up in the air this week as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations trend back upward across Illinois — and especially in Chicago.

State officials reported 3,235 new cases were diagnosed among the latest 90,575 tests, keeping the average statewide testing positivity rate at a two-month high of 3.5%. Overall, that figure has shot up 70% in under three weeks.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped 34% over that period, which is what prompted Pritzker to delay the “bridge phase.”

Coronavirus patients took up 1,445 beds Thursday night, the most the state’s hospitals have treated since the end of February — but still a far cry from the 6,000-plus beds that were filled during the worst nights of the pandemic last fall.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is urging unvaccinated families to keep their Easter celebrations virtual this weekend, as the city’s regional positivity rate has risen from 3.4% to 4.7% in just a week.

About 542 city residents are testing positive for the virus each day, a rate that has increased 45% over the past week.

“What we’ve seen just over these last few weeks is in those evening hours, many, many more people out and about and moving around, and I think this just reflects that people are excited for the warm weather, feeling good about the vaccine, and I think just sort of wishing that COVID was over,” Arwady said Thursday.

It’s not. The state reported 24 more coronavirus deaths, including those of two Cook County men in their 30s.

New COVID-19 cases by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

Illinois’ death toll has climbed to 21,349, among almost 1.3 million residents who have tested positive over the last year.

About 108,811 Illinoisans are being vaccinated per day on average. The state received its largest-ever vaccine allotment from the federal government this week, and supply is expected to keep ramping up in the weeks ahead.

Anyone 16 and up with a chronic health condition, or who belongs to an essential worker group, is eligible to sign up for a vaccine appointment. Pritzker will open eligibility to all adults April 12, though local officials in Chicago and suburban Cook County say they likely won’t follow suit until closer to the end of the month.

“Let’s keep going all in for each other — with our masks, our distance and our shots,” the governor tweeted. “We’re so close to the finish line. Let’s get there together.”



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