State surpasses 30,000 COVID-19 deaths even as new cases, hospitalizations decrease

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue a welcome downslide, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Monday.

However, the state reached a sobering milestone on Sunday, surpassing 30,000 deaths from the respiratory disease.

Daily tallies of new COVID-19 infections decreased by about 13% in a week, or from an average of 25,051.6 from Jan. 18 to Monday compared to 28,890 Jan. 11-17.

Hospitalizations dropped by 15.8%, or from an average of 5,990.7 daily patients from Jan. 17 to Sunday, contrasted with 7,116 Jan. 10-16.

"Two weeks ago, we would have been talking 120 (patients); now we're down to 76," explained Dr. Kevin Most, chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. Most noted that about one-third of pandemic patients are admitted for other reasons than COVID-19, such as a stroke, but test positive.

"We're seeing a lot more incidental findings," he said.

Statewide deaths from COVID-19 have increased by 12.6%, from an average of more than 106 people Jan. 11-17 to an average of 120 a day from Jan. 18 to Monday.

Typically, deaths are a lagging indicator, but there are other nuances at play. The omicron variant of COVID-19 is a relatively mild version of the virus, Most said, while its predecessor, the delta variant, caused more serious illness.

"What you're seeing right now, as far as a lot of the hospitalizations and deaths, are actually delta variant (patients) that got sick a long time ago and have survived or have done OK. Or patients who have not done well and passed away," Most said.

With omicron, hospitalizations are much shorter, he noted.

New cases of COVID-19 totaled 64,499 over the weekend with 310 more deaths, the IDPH reported.

Illinois hospitals were treating 5,238 COVID-19 patients Sunday night.

There were 41,064 new COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday, 13,973 on Sunday and 9,462 on Monday. The IDPH does not update its data on weekends.

There were 132 deaths Saturday, 97 on Sunday and 81 on Monday.

The state's seven-day average case positivity rate is 11.6%.

Total cases statewide stand at 2,837,861, and 30,155 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

On Sunday, 23,916 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 40,211.

So far, 8,324,461 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or 65.7% of the state's 12.7 million population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The CDC defines fully vaccinated as two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson's.

Of those who are fully vaccinated, 45.7% have received a booster shot.

The federal government has delivered 22,885,545 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 20,305,950 shots have been administered.

Labs processed 120,584 virus tests in the last 24 hours.

Illinois surpasses 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

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