New COVID-19 case count inches up in Illinois
New cases of COVID-19 are trending upward, a review of data in the three weeks after Illinois lifted most pandemic restrictions indicates.
Daily COVID-19 infections reached 457 Thursday, the most in nearly a month, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
Illinois dropped capacity limits for activities and moved into the final phase of reopening June 11, and from June 1 to that milestone, daily caseloads of the virus averaged 440.
Infections dipped June 12 through June 18 to a seven-day average of 237. However, from June 19 to June 25, the seven-day average for new cases rose to 249. The latest case counts from Sunday through Thursday show an average of 294.
Also Thursday, the state's COVID-19 positivity rate for cases ticked up to .8%, the highest it's been since June 14.
Despite the shift in the numbers, the state is on positive ground compared to November 2020 when infections soared to more than 17,000 a day and positivity rates were in double digits.
But with the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant spreading and many Illinoisans unvaccinated, including 1.8 million children, experts say to bring caution to your Fourth of July celebrations.
For unvaccinated residents and families with kids under age 12 not eligible for vaccines yet, "pick and choose your spots," said Dr. Michael Bauer, medical director at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
That means choosing events held outdoors, avoiding huge crowds and having children wear masks when they go inside public places, like the ice cream shop.
If traveling, "be aware of the local environment," Bauer said. "You have to be very wise about where you are traveling to in terms of looking at what is the local rate of COVID-19 infections and vaccinations."
"Anybody that's not fully vaccinated is at risk. Plain and simple," Bauer added.
For information about state and county COVID-19 infections and vaccination rates, go to covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker.
Twelve more Illinoisans died of the respiratory disease, the IDPH announced Thursday.
In addition, 28,288 more COVID-19 shots were administered Wednesday. The seven-day average is 43,239.
The federal government has delivered 14,236,895 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 12,622,470 shots have been administered.
So far, 6,180,810 people -- or 48.5% of Illinois' population -- have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
Illinois hospitals were treating 405 COVID-19 patients Wednesday night.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,392,196, and 23,237 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 34,783 virus tests in the last 24 hours.