Both Illinois and Chicago are making progress is the battle against Covid-19.

The state is reporting 2,481 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus  and 51 additional deaths.  Despite that increase in deaths, the death and case numbers continue to trend downward.

Additionally, 1,601 people are hospitalized with Covid-related illness. Sixty three percent of eligible Illinois residents are now fully vaccinated and 81% have had at least one dose.

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But the cases are still there. Almost 2,500 have been reported across the state in the last 24 hours.

In Chicago cases have dropped 10% since last week. And there’s been 23% fewer hospitalizations over the last seven days.

The positivity rate in the city is currently at 2% which is the lowest since the summer.

At an unrelated news conference Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker was asked why residents are still asked to wear masks. 

He said cases, positivity rates, hospital beds — everything across the board has to be taken into consideration together. And we still have farther to go in getting the numbers down. 

Chicago Department of Public Health’s Doctor Allison Arwady addressed the issue at a press conference Wednesday and said

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Chicago is still in the substantial risk category, with over 300 cases of Covid per day. For the mask mandate to be lifted, Arwady said we would need to be in the moderate risk category – which would be fewer than 200 daily cases. 

Thursday she reiterated the need for people to get vaccinated.

“I want to provide one other number,” she said. “Zero. That’s the number of deaths the Chicago Department of Public Health is aware of directly related to receiving the vaccine. There’s a lot of noise out there. This is safe effective and is the tool to get Chicago past Covid.”

According to the city, more than 1.7 million people – or just shy of 74% of residents — have had at least one dose of a vaccine.

More than 67% are fully vaccinated.

The city is running a campaign called protect Chicago 77 with a goal of getting 77% of Chicagoans, 12 and up, started on their vaccination series by the end of the year.

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