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Pritzker says Illinois COVID-19 vaccine supply will climb in coming weeks

Pritzker says Illinois COVID-19 vaccine supply will climb in coming weeks

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New groups being vaccinated in Illinois

A medical professional prepares a syringe to give Lindsay Wilson a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Belleville on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The Belleville locations recently started vaccinating the 65-75 year-old age group along with healthcare professionals. (Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com)

ST. LOUIS — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that the state likely will see a significant increase in COVID-19 vaccine shipments in the coming weeks. And St. Louis County, after receiving thousands of doses delayed by winter weather, projected it would be able to administer a record number of doses over the next week.

Pritzker said that based on commitments from the federal government and vaccine manufacturers, Illinois can expect to receive 100,000 doses per day by mid-March, a dramatic increase. Illinois has logged 58,100 vaccinations each day on average over the past week.

“We’re getting closer and closer to widespread availability that we all want,” Pritzker said.

Statewide, public health data show that 619,480 people have received two doses of vaccine, or 4.9% of Illinois’ population.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson told Fox4 Kansas City and The Kansas City Star on Wednesday that he’ll make an announcement Thursday on advancing vaccine phases, adding that teachers will be able to receive vaccines “pretty shortly.”

Teachers have pleaded with the state to move them up the vaccine priority list, as several neighboring states have already vaccinated teachers.

St. Louis County received 6,000 doses of vaccine on Tuesday, half from the current week’s shipment and half after last week’s storm delay. The health department said it planned to administer those plus 3,000 second doses over the next week, totaling 9,000, a record number.

Missouri reported on Wednesday that 726,367 people have received a first dose of vaccine, or 11.8% of the population, up from 708,751 the day before. And of those, 358,161 have received a second dose, or 5.8% of the population.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported 50 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the area, up from 41 the day before, and a total of 334 virus patients across area BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital facilities — up from 322 the day before. Task force data lags two days.

Dr. Alex Garza, who leads the task force, said during a briefing Wednesday that after months of steep declines in the numbers of coronavirus patients admitted to area hospitals, the numbers have shown signs of stalling.

In the fall, new daily COVID-19 admissions in the region began to steeply increase, surpassing 40 in October — which Garza referred to as a concerning level. Weeks later the average hit a record 141 on Nov. 22. Since then it has generally declined, as low as 42 on Feb. 18.

Admissions over the last week have leveled. The task force reported a seven-day average of 45 on Wednesday.

“We seem to have plateaued right around that 50 mark right now, for about the last week or so,” Garza said.

Missouri reported 560 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 443 the day before. The seven-day average of new cases fell to 516, down from 1,312 on Feb. 1, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis.

The state also reported nine more deaths because of the virus.

Illinois reported 2,022 new cases, up from 1,665 the day before. The seven-day average of new cases rose slightly, to 1,804, but was still significantly lower than previous weeks. On Feb. 1 the seven-day average was 3,407, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 47 more deaths because of the virus.

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