Another 73,212 COVID-19 vaccine doses went into Illinois arms as public health officials on Saturday reported 1,922 new infections and 42 more deaths attributed to the virus.
Friday’s vaccination figure marked the fourth-highest one-day total Illinois has seen so far, but it closed out a week of shot administration that was bogged down statewide by heavy snow and delayed vaccine shipments from the federal government.
About 414,000 doses were doled over the past week, compared to about 430,000 given the week of Feb. 6-12.
That’s the first week-to-week decline the state has seen roughly two months into the historic vaccination effort, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he expects numbers to rebound next week with expected shipments of a half-million doses to providers across the state.
The state’s rolling average of daily shots administered is at 59,190, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In all, about 2.7 million doses have been shipped to the state and 2.1 million have been injected, but only 540,904 Illinois residents have received both required doses — just shy of 4.3% of the population. Officials want to immunize at least 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity and end the pandemic.
While the vaccination campaign kicks into gear, infection rates have declined to their lowest levels since early July. The 1,922 new cases were diagnosed among 73,212 tests to keep the state’s average positivity rate at 2.8%.
And with 1,551 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients as of Friday night, statewide admissions are at their lowest point since the beginning of October.
The 42 latest coronavirus deaths are about average compared to the state’s daily rate over the past week, but that brutal pace still has shrunk by 45% in the past month.
The death rate has slowed especially for nursing home residents, who were prioritized in the first vaccination phase. They previously accounted for well over half the state’s death toll — which is now up to 20,234 — but that ratio has eased down to about 47.8% of all Illinois lives lost to the virus. A total of 9,689 fatal cases have been tied to those long-term care facilities.
Nineteen of the most recent victims were from the Chicago area, including a Cook County man in his 40s.
Since last March, nearly 1.2 million Illinoisans have been diagnosed with COVID-19.