CHICAGO (CBS) — Key metrics in the fight against COVID-19 continue to improve in Illinois, as state officials on Thursday reported 1,966 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, as well as 72 more deaths.

The statewide 7-day average case positivity rate in Illinois is down to 2.7%, the lowest it’s been since July 9, when the rate was 2.6%. The state’s case positivity rate is less than half of what it was a month ago.

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As of Wednesday night, 1,655 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 386 in the ICU and 184 on ventilators. That’s the fewest overall hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Illinois since Oct. 4. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been cut in half over the past month in Illinois, and are down 73% from the peak of 6,175 on Nov. 20.

Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 1,168,683 cases of COVID-19, including 20,129 deaths.

Meantime, the Illinois Department of Public Health said winter storms across the country continue to delay vaccine deliveries from the federal government.

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“We are in contact with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies to understand the logistical challenges and if there is anything Illinois can do to expedite getting vaccine,” IDPH said in a statement.

After touring a mass vaccination site downstate on Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker said states are now starting to see deliveries that had been delayed by the weather start to come through.

Prtizker, who had repeatedly criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the vaccine rollout, said Illinois is expecting 500,000 doses next week, and has seen a 30% increase in its weekly vaccine supply since President Joe Biden took office.

“Overall, our progress to date is something everyone in Illinois should be proud of,” Pritzker said. “That doesn’t mean getting a vaccine hasn’t been a frustrating experience. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t frustrating for me, as governor, to not have enough supply coming into the state to provide for everyone who wants to be vaccinated. Indeed, with a national shortage of vaccine to begin with, we’ve all had to be patient to wait our turn.”

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So far, the state has received a total of 2,552,000 doses of vaccines, and 1,977,033 doses have been administered statewide. Illinois is averaging 61,132 inoculations per day over the past week. A total of 472,755 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday night, accounting for 3.71% of the state’s population.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff