How Illinois -- with 614 new cases and 6 deaths Monday -- compares to COVID-19 hot spot states
Illinois is responsible for less than 2% of the new cases of COVID-19 nationwide between June 28 and July 5, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But Arizona, California, Florida and Texas alone are responsible for more than 52% of the new cases during that same time period.
"I think that sends a clear message that you shouldn't be traveling to those states and we should be concerned about a surge in travel from those states," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director for infection control and prevention at Edward Hospital in Naperville. "It's not safe in those states."
Illinois recorded 614 new COVID-19 infections in 24 hours, Illinois Department of Public Health officials announced Monday, and six more residents died. COVID-19 patients in Illinois hospitals increased slightly, officials said.
At the same time, Pinsky said, hospital admissions in the four southern and western states are spiking to dangerous levels.
The CDC is reporting more than 20% of Arizona's hospital beds are occupied by people with COVID-19 infections and 84% of the state's hospital beds are in use.
That compares to just 4% of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in Illinois and less than 56% of the state's hospital beds currently taken. Hospitalization rates in California, Florida and Texas for COVID-19 patients are all at 10% or higher, according to the CDC.
"New admissions and intensive care unit bed counts are good metrics to watch, from my point of view," Pinsky said. "Hospital admissions are key because it gives you an indication of the burden of the disease."
Illinois averaged 772 new cases a day between June 28 and July 5, the time when the four hot-spot states began seeing exponential growth in cases. Those states all averaged thousands of new cases per day during that time, according to the CDC. Florida alone averaged 8,373 new cases each day. California and Texas each saw more than 6,000 new cases a day. And Arizona averaged more than 3,500 new cases daily.
While the numbers are smaller, Pinsky called Arizona a "red-hot spot" because of the concentrated population and burden on the health care system.
Since the pandemic began, 7,026 people have died in Illinois and 147,865 have been infected, Illinois health officials say.
Reported cases have hit 260,155 in California, 195,239 in Texas, 197,076 in Florida and 98,089 in Arizona, the CDC reports.
But experts also warn that Illinois' numbers could surge again if people become less vigilant about safety measures as the state becomes less restrictive.
"We are seeing an improvement, but I wouldn't say it's a decline. It's stabilizing," Pinsky said. "I really worry about folks letting their guard down. There's a perception that there's less of a risk, but the risk is still out there."