COVID-19 cases dip, but hospitalizations on the rise

New coronavirus cases in Illinois fell to their lowest levels since the onset of a surge earlier this month, but the number of people hospitalized with the respiratory illness increased Saturday, according to state health officials.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 7,178 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, the lowest total since 6,516 cases were reported Nov. 3. The IDPH also confirmed 57 additional deaths from the coronavirus, including 33 residents of Cook County, three DuPage County residents and two Kane County residents.

While case numbers have dipped, there were 5,858 people hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19 as of Saturday night, up from 5,775 on Friday. Of those in the hospital, 1,185 were in an intensive-care unit and 723 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day test positivity rate remained flat for the third consecutive day at 10.1%

The new figures comes as the state enters its third week of tighter pandemic-related restrictions ordered by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Nov. 13. Those rules include limits of 50% capacity at grocery stores and 25% at other stores, suspending indoor group sports, closing casinos and movie theaters, and banning events at banquet halls, party venues and clubs.

Despite the drop in cases, medical experts worry another spike could be just around the corner as a result of family get-togethers and other social gatherings associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.

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