Suburban residents make up more than half of those who received COVID-19 vaccine doses each day during the past week, which local health officials say is helping keep the state on its path to a planned full reopening June 11.
According to Illinois Department of Public Health figures, suburban residents account for 21,603 of the 41,234 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered each day on average over the past seven days. That includes residents of suburban Cook County and DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
And more businesses in the suburbs are making mask-wearing optional for those fully vaccinated.
“We are pleased to see the positive impact of the COVID-19 vaccination on our community,” said Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage County Health Department. “We knew from the start that vaccines would provide us an opportunity to bring an end to this pandemic, and we are now encouraging anyone who is not yet vaccinated, to help make this a reality.”
But Ayala also noted there were “pockets” of unvaccinated residents and workers who have yet to get vaccinated.
Those individuals still pose a risk of infecting others or becoming an incubator for a more dangerous variant of the virus, health officials have warned.
Meanwhile, IDPH officials reported just 478 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed over the previous 24 hours and nine more deaths as well. It’s the second day in a row statewide COVID-19 deaths have been in the single digits, the first time that’s happened in Illinois since September 2020.
Hospitals across the state reported treating 1,013 COVID-19 patients Tuesday night, 278 of whom are in intensive care.
The state’s seven-day average case positivity rate is at 1.5%, meaning just 1.5% of all new COVID-19 tests taken each day over the past week have resulted in a new infection. It’s the lowest level for that metric since the outset of the pandemic.
But vaccination figures continue to decline across the state as well, including in the suburbs.
IDPH officials reported 29,322 more vaccine doses were administered throughout the state Tuesday. Providers haven’t inoculated more than 100,000 people in Illinois in a single day for nearly two weeks.
By comparison, the state was averaging more than 100,000 vaccine inoculations a day throughout most of April.
Federal and state lawmakers are boosting incentives to lure more reluctant residents to vaccination clinics.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Wednesday that allows bars and restaurants to serve one alcoholic beverage to anyone who has been vaccinated. The law sunsets July 20.
White House officials also announced Wednesday a series of nationwide incentive plans in partnership with several businesses in an effort to get 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted several businesses, such as Anheuser-Busch and Krispy Kreme, are offering free items to anyone who shows proof of vaccination.
“I would not recommend Krispy Kreme with a beer, but I’ll leave that to other people to decide,” she joked during Wednesday’s briefing.
Many suburban residents would be eligible for a beer and a doughnut, though. That’s because suburban counties are among the state’s highest fully vaccinated locations.
IDPH figures show DuPage County has nearly 50% of its population fully vaccinated, tops in the state. Suburban Cook County is second in the state with almost 45% of its population fully vaccinated.
More than 40% of residents in Lake and McHenry counties are fully vaccinated, good for the 10th and 11th best rates in the state respectively. Will County has slightly less than 40% of its residents fully vaccinated but has the state’s 12th highest rate.
Kane County is lowest in the suburbs with a fully vaccinated rate of 39.8%, the 14th highest rate in the state.