- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois public health officials reported 10,959 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and a second consecutive day of near-record deaths.

The 192 fatalities from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, matched the toll from May 13, at the height of the initial wave of the disease in Illinois.

That total is second only to the 238 reported Wednesday. The Illinois Department of Public Health said some data reported this week was delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Illinois has now reported 12,830 deaths among 759,562 coronavirus infections.

Friday is the deadline for states to submit their vaccination rollout plans to the federal government.

With vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna close to U.S. regulatory approval, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state is expecting doses of the vaccine to begin arriving in Illinois as early as Dec. 13.

Pritzker said the latest report is that Illinois will receive 109,000 doses initially. That’s enough for 54,500 people - the process requires two shots, the second coming three to four weeks after the first. The state’s vaccination plan follows federal guidelines in terms of priority of recipients. First in line, not surprisingly, are health care workers, residents and staff members of long-term care facilities, and members of the workforce who perform “essential functions.”

Pritzker has stressed that health care encompasses not just providers of medical care but also hospital support staff such as housekeepers who keep rooms clean and food-service employees.

Hospitalization numbers continued to decrease slowly, good news particularly because the state’s health care front is bracing for another rush of cases in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings

There were 5,653 inpatients Thursday, a one-day drop of 111 but more than 8% lower than the 6,175 in hospital beds on Nov. 21. Likewise, there were 1,170 intensive care units occupied and 693 on ventilators, both declined from Thanksgiving Day highs of 1,224 in ICU and 724 using ventilators.


Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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