COVID-19 hospitalization average goes up for 28th straight day in Illinois

The average number of Illinois COVID-19 hospitalizations spiked for the 28th day in a row, state data showed Wednesday, and the majority of those patients are unvaccinated, local health experts said.

Hospitalizations of fully vaccinated Illinoisans also grew this week. Authorities say people with health issues are more likely to have breakthrough cases.

The latest results come as the highly infectious delta variant of COVID-19 is cutting a swath through the U.S.

Through mid-July, daily counts of COVID-19 patients hovered in the 400s statewide. But on July 14, hospitalizations began surging and stand at an average of 1,348 as of Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.

Edward Hospital in Naperville and Elmhurst Hospital, which are part of the same system, saw patients nearly double in a week, with 52 on Wednesday compared to 28 on Aug. 4.

Sixteen of the 52 patients were vaccinated, spokeswoman Janet Hosey said. “The vaccinated COVID-19 inpatients are predominantly immunocompromised or elderly,” she said.

At Cook County Health, “the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Temitope Oyedele, infectious disease physician for CCH. “It is still extremely unlikely if you are vaccinated you'll be hospitalized with COVID-19.”

Statewide, breakthrough hospitalizations for COVID-19 came to 899 Wednesday compared to 714 on Aug. 4 and deaths of fully vaccinated people reached 189 in contrast with 180 on Aug. 4. That's 2.68% of COVID-19 deaths since January 2021, the IDPH said.

At Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, “we are caring for about a dozen COVID-19 patients,” spokesman Chris King said. “Most, if not all, have been unvaccinated, ranging in age from 30s to early 60s. And we are seeing an increase in patient volume. Just few weeks ago, we were at zero, last week 10 and today, a dozen COVID-19 patients.”

New cases of COVID-19 reached 3,933 Wednesday, the highest since April 9, with nine more deaths from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.

The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases hit 5.1% based on a seven-day average, reflecting a continued rise.

On Tuesday, 17,068 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 23,631.

The federal government has delivered 15,177,465 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 13,410,497 shots have been administered.

So far, 6,505,315 people have been fully vaccinated, 51% of Illinois' 12.7 million population. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.

Illinois hospitals were treating 1,558 COVID-19 patients Tuesday night.

Total cases statewide stand at 1,451,094 and 23,551 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

Labs processed 49,200 virus tests in the last 24 hours.

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