By Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) - State health officials reported Sunday that another 115 people have died in Illinois from COVID-19 while the state saw another 8,737 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases.

The additional deaths reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health increased the state’s pandemic toll to 14,291 deaths, and the new coronavirus cases raised Illinois’ total to 848,904 cases.

The state agency also said that as of Saturday night, Illinois hospitals reported that they were treating 5,073 COVID-19 patients, with 1,080 of them in intensive care and 612 on ventilators.

The latest figures were released as Illinois and other states were preparing for the expected arrival of their first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine - the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The freezer-packed vaccines were taken Sunday from Pfizer’s Portage, Michigan, facility to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, where the first cargo plane took off for the start of the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he expects the state to receive about 109,000 doses of the vaccine within the next few weeks, with Chicago officials expecting about 20,000 to 25,000 of those doses to arrive in the city.

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