Illinois sees highest single-day vaccination total since June
COVID-19 vaccinations in Illinois hit their highest level in more than a month Thursday in the face of concern about the delta variant.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 47,592 new inoculations. The last time the daily figure was that high was June 27.
Of those doses administered, nearly 46% went into the arms of suburban residents, IDPH records show, and 22% of the shots were administered to Chicago residents.
The increase in COVID-19 shots mirrors a national trend that saw vaccinations across the U.S. nearly double over the past two days, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The CDC reported 395,489 doses were administered Tuesday, while 753,984 were administered Wednesday.
IDPH officials said the bump might be short-lived, however, as part of the reason for the increase was delayed reporting from a pharmacy chain of doses that were administered earlier in the week, a spokeswoman said.
A surge of cases nationwide is being blamed on the highly contagious delta variant, which has forced the CDC to reverse course on its mask policy. The agency advises anyone in counties where the transmission is substantial or high to wear a mask at public indoor venues no matter their vaccination status. The CDC had said fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed masks indoors.
"I thought that was great medical advice, but terrible social policy," Dr. Emily Landon, head of the University of Chicago's infectious disease prevention and control program, said of the previous CDC policy, announced in May.
"I thought this summer was going to be pretty good and we wouldn't see cases bumping up again until September or October, but delta hastened the onset of the surge."
The spike in vaccinations comes as employers such as Rush University Medical Center and Department of Veterans Affairs have begun requiring COVID-19 immunization as a term of employment.
Illinois has now administered 13,187,171 vaccine doses statewide, with 56.3% of the vaccine-eligible population of residents 12 and older fully vaccinated and 72.1% of that group having received at least one dose of the vaccine.
In addition to the vaccination news, IDPH officials also reported the state's seven-day case positivity rate, which had been climbing rapidly over the past two weeks, held at 4% for the second day in row. Case positivity allows health officials to track the spread of new infections within a certain population. The rate is calculated as the percentage of new cases derived from a batch of test result.
Yet, 12 more people died and 1,691 new cases were reported Thursday.
The virus has now killed 23,432 Illinois residents and infected at least 1,417,263, according to state records.
Hospitals in Illinois are treating 881 COVID-19 patients, 179 of whom are in intensive care, according to IDPH records.