'Mentally I feel better': Second mass vaccination site opens in Cook County.
Illinois set a new daily record for COVID-19 vaccinations, with 65,166 people getting them in the last 24 hours, climbing above the seven-day average of 45,787, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
And the daily total could increase with the opening of the second Cook County mass vaccination site Wednesday at Triton College in River Grove.
Lisa Meincke called Cook County's hotline at 6:59 a.m. Tuesday to reserve her slot at the college campus, and on Wednesday she received her first shot.
"I sat and sat and waited and redialed and redialed until I finally got through," the Arlington Heights woman said.
For Jeff Schwarz of Arlington Heights, getting the lifesaving vaccination provided relief.
"Mentally, I feel better," Schwarz said.
New cases of COVID-19 totaled 3,314 Wednesday and 69 more people died from the disease. Meanwhile, the state has now received 2,079,525 doses of vaccine since distribution began in mid-December, and 1,094,135 doses have been administered.
So far, 244,588 people -- 1.92% of the state's population -- have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
With 2 million doses sent to Illinois and everyone requiring two shots, there still is not enough vaccine for everyone who is eligible, which so far includes health care workers and long-term care residents -- Phase 1A -- and people 65 and older and front-line essential workers, such as police and teachers, in Phase 1B.
"That's just one-quarter of the 4.1 million people qualifying for the first two phases" of vaccinations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said after touring a vaccination site in Champaign.
He added that the federal government this week is beginning to distribute 20% more vaccines to states. Also, a federal pilot program will begin on Feb. 11 to send additional vaccines directly to pharmacies, which means "39,000 more doses available each week to Illinoisans," Pritzker said.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,469 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday night. Of those currently hospitalized, 520 are in intensive-care units.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 3.5% based on a seven-day average, compared to 4.5% a week ago.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,134,231, and 19,375 Illinoisans have died since the outset of the pandemic.
Labs processed 96,894 virus tests in the past day.
IDPH officials announced Wednesday they will shift 97,000 vaccines designated for long-term care facilities in the first wave of inoculations to second-wave recipients.
The 97,000 doses will be taken from the supplies of pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS and redistributed to people in Phase 1B. Those pharmacies are part of a federal program in charge of inoculations at long-term care sites.
The rate of shots at long-term care facilities stands at about 36,000 a week, and 110,000 doses will remain allocated for their residents. That total is expected to be supplemented with new supplies of vaccines, officials said.
"The state is grateful for its partnerships with hundreds of providers and we are directing excess doses that otherwise would be sitting in the freezer three weeks from now to locations across Illinois to vaccinate our Phase 1B residents," IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.
About 35% of doses channeled to long-term care facilities have gone into people's arms. That's partly because doses were allocated based on beds per site, not actual residents, which is less. Also, federal planners "assumed every person offered would take the vaccine -- that has not happened," Pritzker said.
However, inoculations are complete at skilled nursing facilities, and all sites are expected to be vaccinated by Feb. 15, he said.
Remaining priorities include assisted living facilities, group homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Illinois Department of Human Services is sending teams to help with inoculations at those sites this week, officials said.
Demand for vaccines from people in Phase 1B is far outstripping demand. On Tuesday, the Cook County Department of Public Health's website received nearly 2 million hits in the first hour that appointments opened for the Triton College site.
Residents who need help scheduling can call (833) 308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.
The county health department intends to open additional, large-scale vaccination sites more frequently -- "hopefully, every week or two over the next month," said Dr. Gregory Huhn, CCDPH vaccine coordinator.
• Daily Herald staff writer Mark Welsh contributed to this report