COVID-19 hospitalizations level off, but ICU availability continues to shrink
Illinois' seven-day average number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has declined in three of the past four days, the first time that's happened since early July.
State health officials Tuesday reported 2,263 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized throughout Illinois, 547 of whom are in intensive care.
Over the past week, average daily COVID-19 patient counts are 2,287, according to Illinois Department of Public Health figures.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker was cautiously optimistic Tuesday about the hospitalization trend while answering questions at an event in Aurora. He stressed the importance of adhering to the state's indoor mask mandate.
He's "pleased" about the flattening hospitalization numbers, he said, "but until they start to come down the other side of this, we can't lighten up on our mitigations. If you want to keep your business open, if you want to keep the economy going, we need people to wear masks."
While hospitalizations appear to be leveling off, the more severe cases are still putting pressure on hospital resources.
IDPH officials also reported Tuesday that five of the state's 11 health regions have less than 20% of staffed ICU beds available.
In fact, hospitals in the 20-county southernmost region that borders Missouri and Kentucky reported all 88 of the region's ICU beds are occupied. And that's with more ICU capacity added to that region compared to even a month ago, according to IDPH records.
In the suburbs, hospitals in Lake and McHenry counties are reporting just 24 of the region's 172 staffed ICU beds are available for any patients who might need that type of care. That's just 14% of the region's ICU beds.
Hospitals in Chicago and suburban Cook County are reporting fewer than 20% availability of ICU beds as well.
IDPH officials said 40 more Illinois residents were reported to have died from the virus in the previous 24 hours, while 4,660 new cases of the disease were diagnosed.
That brings the state's death toll from COVID-19 to 24,407, with 1,578,198 infections diagnosed since the outset of the pandemic.
The state's seven-day case positivity rate is at 4.5%, up slightly from the previous day. Case positivity is the percentage of new cases derived from a batch of tests, which allows health officials to track the level of infection within a certain population. A seven-day average is used to account for any anomalies in the daily reporting of those figures.
IDPH officials also reported 17,207 more COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered statewide.
So far, 14,218,536 doses have been administered to Illinois residents and workers.
IDPH figures show 54.1% of the state's population is fully vaccinated.