New COVID-19 cases dip, but positivity rates continue to climb
State health officials reported a second consecutive daily decline in new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the likely result of a slowdown in testing and reporting due to the New Year's holiday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,469 new cases, down nearly 300 from Saturday's report, which was more than 2,400 cases down from Friday.
Officials also reported 81 additional deaths from the coronavirus, 62 of them in Cook County. There were six additional deaths in DuPage County, one in Kane County and three in Will County.
There were 45,465 test reported within the previous 24 hours, state officials said, the fewest since Oct. 5.
The new cases brings the state's total to 979,821 since the outbreak began, 16,755 of them fatal.
While the case numbers declined, the seven-day average case positivity rate continues to rise, with the IDPH reporting it at 8.3% for the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2. A week ago the rate was 7.2%.
The rate is a key metric health officials use to track the level of new infections among a population group. A seven-day rolling average is used to smooth any anomalies in the daily reporting of test results and new cases.
As of Saturday night, 3,817 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Illinois, up from 3,799 Friday night. Of those hospitalized, 798 were in intensive care and 462 patients were on ventilators, according to the IDPH.