Illinois daily COVID-19 cases average fewer than 1,000 for first time since last summer
Illinois is averaging fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day for the first time since last July, according to figures released Friday by state health officials.
The daily average over the past week is 972 new cases, the Illinois Department of Public Health data shows.
"Illinois has continued to make tremendous progress in the lowering of positive COVID-19 case rates through increased access to vaccinations," said department spokesman Cristobal Martinez. "As more Illinoisans get vaccinated, less positive cases of COVID-19 are being reported. We hope to see this trend continue over the new few weeks as Illinois prepares to enter Phase 5 of Restore Illinois."
Illinois hasn't seen the daily average under 1,000 since July 13. But back then, the state was averaging fewer than 33,000 tests a day, and the seven-day case positivity rate was over 3%.
Currently, the state is averaging more than 52,000 tests a day, and the seven-day case positivity rate is less than 1.9%. Case positivity is derived from the number of new cases diagnosed from a batch of test results.
IDPH officials also announced 62,274 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people in Illinois over the past 24 hours.
Since the rollout of the vaccine began in mid-December, Illinois providers have administered 11,175,656 doses, and 5,208,410 residents, 41% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
Vaccine providers are averaging 58,378 inoculations a day over the past week, the second-lowest level over the past three months, according to IDPH data.
In an effort to boost immunizations, Kroger and CVS have announced incentives to encourage vaccinations.
Kroger, the parent company of Chicago-area Mariano's grocery stores, is offering five $1 million giveaways as well as 50 chances to win free groceries for a year to customers and employees who get at least one dose of the vaccine at the stores before July 4.
"The faster we reach community immunity, the sooner we can all get back to enjoying backyard barbecues, live music and gathering for special occasions," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO.
CVS officials announced anyone who received their vaccine through the national pharmacy chain or get vaccinated there after June 1 can enter sweepstakes for a bevy of prizes including cash payouts of up to $500, vacations, Super Bowl tickets, free products and concert tickets.
"We're grateful for the millions of people who've received one of the well over 17 million doses we've administered at CVS Health, but we have a long way to go," said Dr. Kyu Rhee, senior vice president and a chief medical officer of CVS Health. "Getting as much of the population fully vaccinated will bring us one step closer to all the things we've missed during the past 14 months and keep our country moving in the right direction."
IDPH officials also reported 21 more COVID-19 deaths while 982 new cases of the disease were diagnosed.
That brings the state's death toll to 22,739 since the outbreak began, and 1,380,261 Illinois residents have been infected with the respiratory disease.
Hospitals throughout Illinois are treating 1,216 COVID-19 patients, the fewest since March 21. Of those hospitalized, 314 are in intensive care.
Figures released by IDPH this week show 81 fully vaccinated Illinois residents have died from COVID-19, and 243 fully vaccinated residents have been hospitalized.
Nationally, 368 fully vaccinated individuals have died from COVID-19, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures. The CDC also reported 1,914 people considered fully vaccinated have been hospitalized from the virus. Records show 77% of those hospitalized were 65 and older.
However, the CDC notes the vaccine breakthrough data "relies on passive and voluntary reporting, and data might not be complete or representative."