COVID-19 deaths spike to 71, rise in September as Pritzker holds to mask mandate
Deaths from COVID-19 hit 71 Saturday, the most since Feb. 18, reflecting an increase of fatalities from the virus in September.
State data Monday shows people dying of COVID-19 averaged about 32 individuals daily in September so far, compared to 16 a day in August.
"Deaths are typically a delayed metric of infection activity," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, Edward Hospital's medical director of infection control and prevention.
"I think those results in September probably reflect increased admissions in the beginning of August," he said. New COVID-19 cases had dwindled to daily tallies in the 100s in June but spiked to thousands of cases a day in late July and in August amid a spiral caused by the extremely contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
However, average daily COVID-19 cases have stayed mainly in the 3,700-range over the last seven days.
When asked if the state intends to lift an indoor mask mandate, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, "I couldn't give you a date on when we might be able to alleviate some mitigations."
He added he was "heartened" that hospitalizations don't appear to be rising as of Monday but noted "the relationship between case numbers and hospitalizations has not been particularly clear during delta. And so, we're watching it very closely," Pritzker said at an event in Chicago.
"I'm hopeful, for all of our sakes. None of us prefer to wear masks indoors, but this pandemic, unfortunately, is still with us."
New cases of COVID-19 totaled 9,152 over the weekend with 106 more people dying from the respiratory disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Monday.
The tally includes 4,628 new infections Saturday, 2,833 Sunday and 1,691 Monday. In addition, there were four deaths Monday, 31 on Sunday and 71 on Saturday, the most since Feb. 18 when 72 fatalities were recorded.
From Friday through Sunday, 59,104 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 19,102. Illinois hospitals were treating 2,247 COVID-19 patients Sunday night.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 4.4% based on a seven-day average.
The federal government has delivered 16,779,545 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 14,208,557 shots have been administered.
So far, 6,865,463 people have been fully vaccinated, or nearly 53.9% of Illinois' 12.7 million population. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,573,538, and 24,367 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 254,763 virus tests over the weekend.
The state does not update COVID-19 information Saturday or Sunday.