CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois has reached a new milestone in its fight against the COVID pandemic, with more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine administered so far, as hospitalizations from the virus continue to fall statewide.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said 69,029 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered statewide on Wednesday, the second highest daily total so far. Over the past week, Illinois is averaging 56,094 vaccinations per day.

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So far, the state has received a total of 2,385,950 doses of vaccines, and has administered 1,549,108 doses as of Wednesday night. A total of 346,773 people in Illinois – or 2.72% of the state’s population – have been fully vaccinated after receiving two doses.

The number of vaccination sites operating in Illinois has more than doubled over the past week, as hundreds more pharmacy sites have opened across the state. IDPH said 340 new retail pharmacy vaccination sites have opened in the past day. Between Feb. 4 and Feb. 9, another 134 vaccination sites opened statewide; including 22 local health department, medical center, and hospital locations; two new mass vaccination locations supported by local health departments and the Illinois National Guard; and 110 additional retail pharmacy stores. There are now more than 850 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public.

The state also is deploying three “Disaster Survivor Assistance” teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help staff county-run vaccination sites in suburban Cook County and St. Clair County near St. Louis. The DSA teams, which typically help with outreach following natural disasters, will be deployed to assist local health departments serving underserved communities and vulnerable populations, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s office.

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The first DSA team will be deployed to St. Clair County this week to help the county’s call centers set up vaccination appointments and to contact seniors and other eligible populations about the availability of the vaccine.

The other two teams will soon be assigned to assist the Cook County Department of Public Health with scheduling first and second appointments at health centers.

Meantime, IDPH on Thursday reported 2,838 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, as well as 102 additional deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the state has reported a total of 1,155,833 cases, including 19,841 deaths.

The statewide 7-day average case positivity rate in Illinois has been at 3.3% for the past four days, tied for the lowest it’s been since Oct. 4, and less than half of the rate reported by IDPH one month ago. The state’s infection rate has been falling steadily for more than a month.

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As of Wednesday night, 1,954 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 448 in the ICU and 227 on ventilators. It’s the first time statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have been below 2,000 since Oct. 14. Virus hospitalizations in Illinois peaked at 6,175 on Nov. 20,

CBS 2 Chicago Staff