CHICAGO (CBS) — After creeping up for nearly two weeks following Christmas, the average COVID-19 infection rate in Illinois has been trending down again the past few days, as the state reported 4,776 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Monday, including 53 additional deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported a total of 1,033,526 cases of COVID-19, including 17,627 deaths.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate in Illinois now stands at 7.6%, down from 7.9% on Monday. During the second surge of the virus that started in the fall, the state’s case positivity rate peaked at 13.2%, and dropped as low as 6.8% on Dec. 26, before climbing back up to 8.5% as of Friday. It’s unclear if the latest downward trend is tied to a dip in testing typically seen on weekends.

As of Sunday night, 3,540 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 759 in the ICU and 401 on ventilators. COVID hospitalizations in Illinois have now been below 4,000 for 11 days in a row.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Illinois peaked 6,175 on Nov. 20, although there are still far more COVID-19 patients in the hospital now than at the start of the fall surge in early October, when the state was averaging about 1,500 hospitalizations per day.

Meantime, Gov. JB Pritzker said, as of Sunday night, 587,900 total doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been delivered to Illinois for distribution to frontline healthcare workers; including 109,725 doses for the city of Chicago, and 478,175 doses for the rest of Illinois.

In addition, the federal government has delivered approximately 241,400 doses of the vaccines to pharmacies for distribution to long-term care facilities; including 58,900 doses in Chicago, and 172,500 doses outside Chicago.

Pritzker said, so far, 334,939 doses of vaccines have been administered statewide.

The governor said some communities in Illinois already have “substantially completed” phase 1A of vaccine distribution to frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facilities, and the state is allowing them to move to the early stages of Phase 1B.

In Phase 1B in Illinois, the vaccine will be made available to seniors age 65 and older, along with essential non-healthcare workers such as teachers, first responders, grocery store workers and others.

“We want to make sure any available vaccine is administered quickly,” Pritzker said.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff