WATCH ABOVE: Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike give an update on COVID-19 and vaccination efforts in Illinois Wednesday
CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker said more than 100,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far in Illinois as vaccination efforts continue to expand across the state.
Speaking during a virtual press conference Wednesday, Pritzker said as of Tuesday night 100,991 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been given to frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois, more than any other state in the nation.
Illinois continues to see positive signs including a declining average of new COVID-19 cases, although the number of deaths on average remains higher than any point in the spring.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,762 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Wednesday as well as 135 additional deaths. After declining for more than two weeks, the state is now averaging about 6,781 daily reported cases over a 7-day period.
Additionally, IDPH said 7.5% of all tests performed from December 16-22 confirmed a new case of COVID-19, a slight increase from the day before, although the case positivity rate has been trending down for nearly three weeks.
Pritzker said Illinois “sprinted past” larger states in its vaccine distribution efforts and doses should be available in every county by the end of the week.
Every region of Illinois has seen their positivity rates either decline or remain flat in recent days, with some qualifying for the state’s original criteria to move to less-restrictive Tier 2 mitigation measures.
However, Pritzker said Tier 3 will likely remain in place through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, pointing to the rise in hospitalizations including a high level of COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
Hospitalizations have been declining for weeks but began rising a few days ago. IDPH reported another increase as of Tuesday night, with 4,593 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 953 in intensive care and 536 on ventilators.
“What we don’t want to do is yo-yo back and forth between Tier 3 and Tier 2, and that would not open bars and restaurants either way; we do want to get things open as soon as possible,” Pritzker said.
Additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Illinois this week, Pritzker said, including 23,400 doses for the state at large, 15,600 in Chicago and another 37,050 doses which will be administered to long-term care residents by CVS and Walgreens.
This week also marks the beginning of Moderna vaccines arriving in the state, Pritzker said. Doses will be shipped directly to providers since they don’t need to be kept in ultra-cold storage, including 174,600 doses for Illinois generally and 48,000 doses for Chicago.
Pritzker said the state will also be providing additional support for childcare providers from January to March through its childcare assistance program.
(This story was originally published on December 23, 2020)