CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois reported its lowest average COVID-19 infection rate in more than a month on Tuesday, even as the number of vaccinations administered per day continued to drop significantly.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,211 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as well as 19 more deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 1,343,988 cases, including 22,066 deaths.
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Illinois is now averaging 2,609 new cases per day over the past week, down 4% from a week ago, and down 15% from two weeks ago.
The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate stands at 3.3%, the lowest it’s been since March 31. That rate reached as high as 4.4% on multiple days in April, after hitting a pandemic-low of 2.1% on March 13.
As of Monday night, a total of 2,074 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 493 in the ICU and 262 on ventilators.
Hospitalizations are trending down just slightly the past couple weeks. Illinois is averaging 2.035 hospitalizations per day over the past week, down 4% from a week earlier, and down 5% from two weeks ago.
However, even as new cases and hospitalizations have started to fall in recent weeks, the number of people getting vaccinated has started to plummet.
Over the past week, Illinois is averaging 72,613 doses administered per day, a 31% drop from one week ago, and a 45% decline from the peak of 132,979 vaccinations per day on April 12.
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The drop in vaccinations comes as Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday said they hope the city and state can fully reopen, with no capacity restrictions, by July 4. But they cautioned that can only happen if enough people get vaccinated to avoid another spike in new cases.
“Of course, we have to make sure that we don’t see another surge of the virus, and the best way to do that is for everyone to get vaccinated,” Pritzker said.
Lightfoot and Pritzker announced Tuesday that the Chicago Auto Show would be returning to McCormick Place in July, marking the first major convention to return to Chicago since the pandemic. They said they expect the Auto Show to be just the first convention to return this summer, although the mayor stopped short of confirming other major festivals such as Lollapalooza or the Air & Water Show also would be back this year.
“Don’t skip to the end of the chapter. There’s more that’s coming. We feel very confident about what the summer is going to look like,” she said. “We can’t predict the future, but we feel very confident, if we continue to follow the public health guidance and get people vaccinated, that this summer is going to be very different, very festive, and we’re going to bring arts and culture and music back to the city, which I think will be a great boost to all of us.”
The mayor has repeatedly said she believes this summer will look more like 2019 than the pandemic summer of 2020.
Lightfoot said her goal is to have the city fully reopen by July 4, with no capacity limits on businesses or public gatherings.
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“Every day that our COVID-19 metrics tick downward brings us a day closer to being able to put this pandemic in the rearview mirror, and we are too close to accomplishing this mission to give up now,” Lightfoot said.