State tops 6 million COVID-19 vaccinations; 3,235 new cases, 24 deaths
Illinois surpassed 6 million COVID-19 vaccines administered Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
On Thursday, 124,870 more people received COVID-19 shots compared to the seven-day average of 108,811.
The federal government has delivered 7,748,925 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 6,043,292 shots have been given, the Illinois Department of Public Health said. That means 1,056,130 doses shipped since Sunday; the Biden administration had promised to provide 1 million vaccines a week in April.
There's still a long way to go before a majority of Illinois' 12.7 million residents are fully protected against the virus, however.
So far, 2,262,076 people -- 17.8% of the state -- have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart. A third version made by Johnson & Johnson requires one shot.
Meanwhile, cases of more infectious COVID-19 mutations in Illinois increased to 351, compared with 227 a week ago on March 25. Most of those cases, 276, were a variant originating in the United Kingdom.
The variant has approximately 50% increased transmissibility and can result in more severe illness, based on hospitalization and fatality rates in Britain, said Dr. Gregory Huhn, an infectious disease specialist with Cook County Health.
But the good news is data shows "those that would be protected by vaccination would be likely protected against acquiring this U.K. variant."
Huhn noted one reason for the growth in variant cases is labs now have more experience sequencing and detecting COVID-19 mutations,
The state reported 3,235 new virus cases Friday, reflecting an upward trend, with 24 deaths from the respiratory disease.
Illinois hospitals were treating 1,445 COVID-19 patients Thursday night. Hospitalizations reached 1,386 a day between Thursday and March 26 based on a seven-day average or a 13% increase compared to 1,225 patients daily between March 25 and March 19.
Officials also provided a new metric about wasted vaccines. A total of 1,645 doses have been wasted so far from a variety of causes, including dropped syringes, vials expiring while stored, or not kept at the correct temperature.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 3.5% based on a seven-day average.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,251,346, and 21,349 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 90,575 virus tests in the last 24 hours.