State's COVID-19 positivity rate, hospitalizations climb again

  • COVID-19 hospitalizations increased again in Illinois on Tuesday and are at their highest point since the outset of the pandemic nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    COVID-19 hospitalizations increased again in Illinois on Tuesday and are at their highest point since the outset of the pandemic nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 12/29/2020 7:12 PM

The state's seven-day average COVID-19 case positivity rate increased for the second day in a row Tuesday, the first time that's happened since the beginning of the month.

The statewide rate now stands at 7.4%.


COVID-19 hospitalizations also are climbing across the state, after significant declines on Christmas and Christmas Eve, according to Illinois Department of Public Health figures.

IDPH officials reported 4,313 COVID-19 patients were being treated in Illinois hospitals Monday. Of those hospitalized, 904 were in intensive care units.

IDPH officials also reported Tuesday that 106 more Illinois residents had died from COVID-19, bringing the state's death toll from the respiratory disease to 16,179.

Another 5,644 new cases were diagnosed in Illinois residents, IDPH officials said Tuesday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 948,006 Illinoisans have been infected.

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That means at least 7.5% of the state's population has tested positive for the virus. Of those who've contracted it, 1.7% have died.

While a third of those who have contracted the disease in Illinois are 29 years old or younger, only 63 people in that age group have died from it.

Almost half the state's death toll from the virus has been among residents who are 80 years old and older, according to IDPH data.

IDPH officials also reported that half the state's deaths have been individuals living in long-term care facilities. Residents and workers at those locations, such as nursing homes and assisted living centers, began receiving the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker hasn't given an update on the state's battle against the virus since Dec. 23, when he announced more than 100,000 vaccinations had been administered to health care and hospital workers.

Tuesday, state officials released new vaccination figures, noting the state had received 108,225 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 161,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Through Monday, the records indicated 126,211 shots had been administered.


The state's figures don't include vaccine doses shipped directly to Chicago. The state expects more shipments of the vaccine on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday.

But medical experts warn the vaccination process isn't going as quickly as had been expected nationwide. To achieve herd immunity, as much as 80% of the population needs to be inoculated with the vaccine, experts say.

"If we want to get there within six months, we need to be doing 3½ million vaccinations a day, not a million a week," Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, told CNN Tuesday.

Nationally, the country is averaging nearly 180,000 new COVID-19 cases a day over the past week, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Illinois is responsible for more than 5,300 of them each day.

While the number of new cases is slightly declining, the U.S. recorded the most COVID-19 hospitalizations ever Monday with 121,235 people being treated for the virus. States in the southern and western parts of the country are contributing most to the hospitalization spike, according to CDC data.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported 40% of all hospital patients nationwide were being treated for the virus last week compared to 16% in September.

Some hospitals in California are using gift shops, conference rooms and other nonmedical spaces to treat patients. Others are turning patients away because of problems supplying oxygen to some patient rooms.

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