As new cases hit 4-month low, state easing restrictions in Chicago, Will County
In another encouraging sign of progress in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials reported 2,428 new and probable COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest daily total in nearly four months.
While case reports typically are lower on Sundays, it marks the first time the state has seen fewer than 2,900 new cases in a day since Oct. 14, and the lowest total since 1,617 cases were reported Oct. 6. according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.
Also Sunday, IDPH officials announced that the city of Chicago has moved to Phase 4 of the state's Restore Illinois plan and Region 7 -- Will and Kankakee counties -- is expected to follow suit Monday.
That will lift capacity limits for indoor dining, instead requiring seating to be arranged to allow for six feet between groups, and allow parties of up to 10 to dine together. It also allows for gatherings of up to 50 people, and movie theaters and entertainment venues to open with capacity limits, among other easing of restrictions.
Test positivity rates also continue to decline, with the preliminary seven-day statewide rate reported at 5% for the week of Jan. 24-30. The rate was at 6% a week ago, and 9.5% on Jan. 1.
Along with the new cases Sunday, the IDPH reported 40 more deaths from COVID-19, among them a Will County teenager and a Cook County woman in her 30s. Another 20 deaths occurred in Cook County, along with two in DuPage, one in Kane and three in Lake counties.
With those additional deaths, the state has now lost 19,243 residents to the disease since the pandemic began last year. In all, there have been 1,126,301 reported COVID-19 cases in Illinois.
As of Saturday night, 2,467 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Illinois, down from 2,600 Friday night. Of those patients in the hospital Saturday, 538 patients were in intensive care and 289 were on ventilators.
Officials said 36,851 vaccine doses were given Saturday, brining the total in Illinois to 1,829,575. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 42,931 doses, officials said.