Illinois once again averaging 6,000-plus new COVID-19 cases daily
Illinois COVID-19 cases are inching up to average more than 6,000 new cases a day, even as testing for the respiratory disease dropped sharply over the last few weeks.
That's according to Illinois Department of Public Health data released Monday that shows the state averaged 6,074 new cases a day over the past week.
The seven-day new case average had dipped as low as 5,243 on Dec. 29, but has increased every day since.
The last time the state was averaging more than 6,000 cases a day for the week was on Christmas, according to IDPH figures.
At the peak of the most recent surge, for the week ending Nov. 16, Illinois averaged 12,384 new cases a day.
While new cases increase slightly, the number of tests being taken has seen a steep decline over the holidays, causing case positivity rates for the state and suburbs to spike.
The state averaged 70,530 test results a day over the past week, while the state was averaging 83,277 tests results a day 10 days ago.
On Monday, the state announced the current seven-day average case positivity rate was at 8.6%, up from 6.8% 10 days ago. The case positivity rate is a metric state officials use to determine the spread of the virus. A seven-day rolling average is used to smooth out any daily anomalies in case and test reporting.
The seven-day case positivity rates in suburban Chicago range anywhere from 8.1% in Lake County to as high as 11.9% in McHenry County as of Monday, according to IDPH figures. In DuPage County, the case positivity rate is 9.7%, but was just 5.9% 10 days ago.
Also on Monday, IDPH officials announced 79 more Illinois residents have died from COVID-19 and another 5,059 new cases of the respiratory disease have been diagnosed.
That brings the state's death toll to 16,834 with 984,880 residents who have been infected since the outbreak began in early spring of last year.
IDPH officials also reported 3,948 patients were being treated for COVID-19 infections in hospitals throughout the state Sunday, the second day the number of patients has risen after several days of decline. Of those hospitalized, 816 are in intensive care beds, which also is an increase.
Meanwhile, vaccinations are not going as fast as originally expected. States are blaming a lag on vaccine shipments from the federal government. Illinois vaccination tallies were not released on Monday and requests for comment from the governor's office and IDPH Monday were not returned.
The Cook County Department of Public Health is advising health care workers who are not affiliated with a hospital or any other health care system and who live and work in suburban Cook County to respond to a survey at https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=PP8PJNFHMW. It will be used to plan vaccine distribution and to eventually pass along information on vaccine availability.
Lake County's health department created something similar weeks ago at its website for all residents to sign up for vaccination information at allvax.lakecohealth.org.
Kane County residents can sign up for email alerts about vaccinations when they become more widely available at the health department's website kanehealth.com.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike have not held a joint news conference since before Christmas. Ezike did appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" last week to discuss the state's efforts to slow the spread of the virus.