New cases of COVID-19 rose by more than 22% last week in Illinois
New cases of COVID-19 have risen by more than 22% in the last seven days, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Monday.
Daily cases from March 16 to Monday totaled 12,970, or 1,853 a day, compared to 10,596 infections, or 1,514 a day, March 9-15.
There have been fluctuations in caseloads recently with tallies from early this month reaching 11,678, or 1,668 a day, March 2-8. But experts are watching the numbers as the state loosens restrictions on activities and cases of more contagious variants of COVID-19 inch up.
The IDPH recorded 143 COVID-19 variant cases Sunday: 135 of a COVID-19 mutation originating in the United Kingdom, five of a Brazilian version, and three of a South African variant. That contrasts with 126 reported Tuesday: 120 of the United Kingdom variant and three each of the Brazilian and South African ones.
However, the state is on track to surpass 5 million COVID-19 vaccines in arms this week.
On Sunday, 41,343 more people received COVID-19 shots. The seven-day average is now 92,148; typically, vaccinations drop over the weekend.
The federal government has delivered 5,756,795 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 4,747,845 shots have been administered.
So far, 1,771,103 people -- 13.9% of Illinois' 12.7 million population -- have been fully vaccinated. Nationwide, a total of 13.5% people have been fully inoculated.
Vaccines currently used in Illinois are two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna versions and a one-dose shot by Johnson & Johnson.
AstraZeneca, which has also produced a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine used in other countries, announced Monday that advanced trials in the U.S. showed it was 100% effective at preventing severe disease and 79% effective at preventing mild cases.
The Cook County Health Department participated in the trials.
"It's definitely great news," said infectious disease expert Dr. Temitope Oyedele, Cook County Health's principal site investigator on the study. "I think from the beginning everybody said it's going to take more than one or two vaccines to help make it out of the pandemic. (AstraZeneca's vaccine) is very effective at preventing the most important thing, which is severe disease."
AstraZeneca's vaccine had caused concerns it was linked to blood clots, but European medical authorities last week ruled it was "not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots." There were no serious side effects in U.S. trials, Oyedele said.
The vaccine is easier to store than Pfizer's or Moderna's, Oyedele said. It's expected AstraZeneca could apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval next month and "hopefully by the end of April it will be authorized," he said.
Officials also announced 1,220 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 more deaths from the respiratory disease,
Illinois hospitals were treating 1,182 COVID-19 patients Sunday night.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate is now at 2.6%.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,223,083, and 21,103 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 47,374 virus tests in the last 24 hours.