4,004 new COVID-19 cases, but a record 164,462 vaccine doses. Is that enough for Monday?
The daily average of new COVID-19 cases has spiked by 70% in April compared to the March average, while hospitalizations have grown by 32%, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Friday.
Combating that worrying trend was a 23% decrease in average daily virus deaths in April compared to March, while the state hit another record Thursday with 164,462 COVID-19 vaccine shots in arms. One in five Illinoisans is now fully vaccinated.
New COVID-19 infections shot up to 4,004 Friday, the highest since Jan. 29, with 21 more people dying from the respiratory disease.
The seven-day average for vaccines administered is 118,336 a day -- a tally that needs to increase significantly if Illinois is to avoid another shot bottleneck on Monday when inoculations open up to every resident age 16 and older, a logistics expert said.
"I don't know if we've fully gotten through the logjam," said Hani S. Mahmassani, Northwestern University Transportation Center director. "Come Monday, I think all bets are off.
"There are probably more people just now becoming eligible (than) we have vaccinated in the past four months. And all of these people want to get vaccinated at the same time."
Eligibility currently is limited to people 65 and older, essential workers such as firefighters and priests, and people with serious medical conditions. Frustration was high in February and through much of March particularly among seniors who couldn't find appointments, but there has been daylight in the past few weeks with about 1 million doses a week coming from the federal government.
Mahmassani estimated between 3 million and 3.5 million people could be leaping into the vaccine fray on Monday.
"Unless we increase the vaccination rate, I think there is going to be a couple of weeks of intense frustration that I hope will not turn into vaccine rage."
Noting the state has a significant inventory of doses not administered yet, "I think we should at least get our seven-day average to 150,000" compared to the 110,000 to 120,000 range, Mahmassani said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker addressed the ebb and flow of COVID-19 metrics at an event Friday when he was asked about reopening more activities and businesses in the state.
"I want to turn around and ask the virus when we can open things up," Pritzker said. "This virus is so unpredictable, but we're headed in the right direction."
He noted that hospitalization numbers, one measurement that is key to easing pandemic restrictions, are still rising.
Complicating matters, U.S. Centers for Disease Control data shows supplies of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine will drop by about 85% next week, related to manufacturing problems.
Expressing concern about the rise in daily new cases, DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala warned "our residents may have a false sense of security due to the vaccine now being available.
"While the number of people vaccinated increases every day, the fact is that the pandemic is not yet over, and we still have about 400,000 eligible residents to vaccinate in our county," she said.
The federal government has delivered 8,841,285 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 6,871,645 shots have been administered.
So far, 2,665,722 people have been fully vaccinated -- 20.9% of Illinois' 12.7 million population. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna require two doses several weeks apart. On Wednesday, 154,201 shots were administered.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 4.2%, based on a seven-day average.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,273,200, and 21,476 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
In April, the average daily number of new cases stands at 3,179, while in March it was 1,867. This month, the daily tally of people dying from COVID-19 reached 20 compared to 26 in March.
And in April average daily hospitalizations have averaged 1,613 patients, contrasted with 1,216 a day in March. Patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 1,808 as of Thursday night.
Labs processed 101,737 virus tests in the last 24 hours.