Cases of COVID-19 jump by one-third in week, DuPage and McHenry hit 'high' transmission metric
New cases of COVID-19 jumped by 36% in a week, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Friday, an upswing suburban doctors on the front lines confirmed.
The daily average of new infections from July 25 to 31 was 1,783 compared to 2,427 Sunday through Friday. The state also recorded back-to-back caseloads of over 3,000 a day Thursday and Friday for the first time since early May, as the extremely infectious delta variant of COVID-19 circulates.
In addition, DuPage and McHenry counties both fell into the "high" category of COVID-19 transmissions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported. A high level means 100 or more cases per 100,000 people.
"We once again urge residents who are 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to protect themselves and others against COVID-19 and the more dangerous delta variant," DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala said.
Dr. Michelle Meziere, medical director of Edward-Elmhurst Health immediate care and walk-in clinics, said staff members are "seeing an increase in numbers of patients presenting with COVID-19-like symptoms and are seeing an increase in numbers of positive COVID-19 cases."
Patients who are infected include vaccinated and unvaccinated people, but there are "higher numbers in the unvaccinated population," she said.
"The majority of the current population that is testing positive is a younger, lower-risk group than previous surges due to the level of vaccination in the older adult population in our area. Those that are vaccinated previously have for the most part had mild illness not requiring hospitalization," explained Meziere, who is co-chair for Edward-Elmhurst Health's COVID-19 Incident Command.
"I encourage those that have not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible," she said.
Dr. Mathew S. Philip, an internist at a DuPage Medical Group BreakThrough Care Center in Wheaton, reported an uptick in COVID-19 cases, mostly involving people returning from other states. This week he treated a vaccinated couple with mild symptoms of COVID-19 who had recently returned from Arizona.
"We're seeing that the vaccine is incredibly safe and incredibly effective at preventing severe symptoms," Philip said.
The couple "were really surprised" by the diagnosis. "They thought it was just a regular cold," he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports Arizona has 202 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people; Illinois is recording 126.7 new infections per 100,000 as of Friday.
According to the IDPH there have been 714 vaccinated people hospitalized in breakthrough cases of COVID-19 out of 472,964 infections reported since Jan. 1, or 0.15%. There have been 180 COVID-19-related deaths among vaccinated Illinoisans, or 2.58% of fatalities since Jan. 1.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is requiring some state employees who work in congregate settings like prisons and veterans' homes to get vaccinated by Oct. 4.
On Thursday, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge objected, saying, "We are not opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine; we are opposed to being forced to take it," signaling potential pushback in the coming weeks.
New cases of COVID-19 numbered 3,040 Friday with 13 more people dying from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.
On Thursday, 25,925 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 25,244.
The federal government has delivered 15,070,745 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 13,388,013 shots have been administered.
So far, 6,545,532 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or nearly 51.4% of the state's 12.7 million population. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart.
Patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 1,200 as of Thursday night.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 4.6% based on a seven-day average.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,436,353, and 23,503 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 69,269 virus tests in the last 24 hours.