After Illinois first case of a more infectious COVID-19 variant was diagnosed on Friday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a vaccination program that included deploying the Illinois National Guard to speed up inoculations and setting a January 25 date to start vaccinating seniors and essential workers.
The state will also launch a vaccination website before Jan. 25, with information about where and how to get shots.
Even though officials have cautioned that vaccinations will be limited at the start of Phase 1b due to limited supply, the Governor is hopefuly that things will speed up after President-elect Joe Biden (who has vowed to accelerate distribution) is sworn in on Wednesday.
State health officials reported another 123 COVID-19 deaths with 6,642 more new cases diagnosed Friday. That brings the state’s death toll from the virus to 18,049, while 1,059,324 Illinois residents have been infected since the outbreak began.
Health officials also reported fewer COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the state, with 3,446 being treated as of Thursday. Of those hospitalized, 712 were in intensive care.
The state’s seven-day average case positivity rate is at 6.5% (its lowest point since Oct. 27).