132,000 shots sets single-day record in Illinois; case positivity lowest ever
Nearly 132,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered to people across the state Thursday, a new state record.
Meanwhile, a key metric used to track infection levels is at its lowest point ever.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the milestones Friday at an event in Harvey touting the creation of a $10 million vaccine awareness campaign aimed at communities where people have been hesitant to be vaccinated, particularly minority communities.
"The campaign is focused on communities hit hardest by COVID-19 and to share information with Illinois residents still considering whether they're going to get vaccinated," Pritzker said. The campaign will target high-vulnerability areas where vaccine acceptance is a challenge, state officials said.
The campaign comes amid news that vaccine providers statewide inoculated 131,882 people Thursday and that the state's seven-day case positivity rate is at an all-time low of 2.2%.
"It's a dream," Pritzker said. "It's prayers answered. But we don't want to reverse any of that."
Case positivity measures the percentage of daily tests that result in new cases. A seven-day average is used to smooth out any anomalies in the daily reporting of new cases and test results.
The governor suggested the record for daily vaccinations will be broken soon because of an expected surge in doses to at least 100,000 daily to start in a week or so.
"Doses are set to soar in the coming weeks," he said.
IDPH figures show that, over the past four days alone, the state has received more than 1 million additional doses of the vaccine.
However, Illinois Senate Republicans are urging the governor to let local health departments do more. After meeting with officials from 42 local health departments around the state recently, Senate Republicans issued a report Friday claiming a "consistent" theme from those officials complaining about a "lack of transparency, organization, and communication by the administration."
The report claims health departments had been readying for mass vaccination events since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but did not maximize that training when the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out.
"Unfortunately, the governor's go-it-alone approach has underutilized the expertise of our county health departments as evidenced by the administration's major problems with its vaccination rollout that have left certain county public health departments scrambling to adjust to a chaotic system of allocation and competition for vaccines," the GOP report said.
The governor's office has reiterated its stance that local health departments should work in concert with IDPH.
"The best way to address any challenges at the local level is for the medical and logistical experts at the local health departments to communicate directly with medical and logistical experts at the IDPH to coordinate their efforts through existing channels," Pritzker wrote to the GOP Senate caucus when asked to meet with local health department officials last month. "Throughout the pandemic and especially since the vaccine rollout began, IDPH has hosted twice-weekly webinars with the LHDs to provide the latest information about the pandemic response, including vaccine distribution."
One issue that keeps arising from both sides of the political aisle is the lack of a centralized registration system for residents to get vaccinated. Northwestern University logistics expert and engineering Professor Hani Mahmassani said it's not too late for the state to create one.
"It would have alleviated some of the anxiety and inefficiency that we've seen during this," Mahmassani said.
In addition to the record-breaking day of inoculations, the state crossed another vaccination threshold Friday, as IDPH officials announced more than 1 million residents are now fully vaccinated, representing 8% of the state's population. Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines require two doses for peak effectiveness, but the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one.
The governor also noted 47% of residents 65 and older and 21% of people ages 16 to 64 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
But IDPH officials also reported 33 additional COVID-19 deaths, along with 1,442 new cases that were diagnosed in the past day.
That brings the state's confirmed death toll from the virus to 20,700, while at least 1,194,702 Illinois residents have been infected since the outbreak began, according to IDPH records.
Hospitals around the state reported 1,166 patients being treated for the virus, with 263 of them in intensive care.