7-day COVID-19 case positivity rate dips into single digits after four weeks of highs

Illinois' positivity rate for COVID-19 cases dipped into single digits for the first time since Dec. 29, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Friday.

The positivity rate for cases is 9.4% based on a seven-day average, reflecting an easing of the latest COVID-19 surge triggered by the highly infectious omicron variant. The rate hit 9.1% on Dec. 29, 2021, but the last four weeks showed levels as high as 15.2% on Jan. 7.

New cases of COVID-19 numbered 15,453 Friday, with 120 more people dying from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.

Patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 4,533 as of Thursday night, less than the seven-day average of 5,140.

The downward trend is showing up at Edward Hospital in Naperville. The hospital hit a record the week ending Jan. 8 with 163 admissions, said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director of infection control and prevention. That dipped to 89 the week ending Jan. 22.

"We're seeing decreasing numbers of infections, but there's still a lot of activity and still a high risk of getting infected in the community, even though the numbers are down," Pinsky cautioned. "We expect over the next few weeks, it's going to decrease tremendously, but it's not going away."

Going forward, "we have to think about what it's like to live with COVID and how to coexist with it and still take precautions and not shut down society. We're not getting back to the way things were before COVID," he said.

On Thursday, 37,652 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 36,787.

So far, 8,357,859 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or 66% 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 people who are fully vaccinated, 46.5% have received a booster shot.

Total cases statewide stand at 2,897,174, and 30,688 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

The federal government has delivered 23,092,645 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December of 2021, and 20,423,100 shots have been administered.

Labs processed 215,068 virus tests in the 24 hours reported Friday.

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