More COVID-19 deaths in September than previous two months combined
Illinois reported more COVID-19 deaths in September than during the previous two months combined, and the most in a single month since February.
The increase in deaths is due to the surge in cases from the delta variant that began in late July and plateaued earlier this month, health officials explained.
Illinois Department of Public Health records show 1,023 COVID-19 deaths were reported in September, and that includes the 42 reported Thursday.
September's COVID-19 death toll is more than double August's tally of 506 deaths and more than four times as many as the 220 deaths reported in July.
Since the outset of the pandemic, Illinois has recorded 24,976 COVID-19 deaths. State health officials believe another 2,689 deaths are likely attributed to the virus.
Deaths are a lagging indicator in a pandemic. It can take weeks from infection for someone to require hospitalization. From there, it can take several more weeks for someone to succumb to the virus.
While the rates of new cases and hospitalizations have been declining for weeks, the average number of deaths in Illinois each day from COVID-19 has only recently started to drop.
Currently, the state is averaging 33 COVID-19 deaths a day over the past week, according to IDPH figures. In late July, as new cases were already climbing, the state was averaging just four COVID-19 deaths a day for the week.
State health officials note most of the deaths attributed to the virus since Jan. 1 are among the unvaccinated. During that time, 8,551 COVID-19 deaths have been reported. Of those deaths, 566 were people who were fully vaccinated, or 6.6%, IDPH records show.
IDPH officials said nearly 60% of the breakthrough deaths were people with medical conditions that made them more susceptible to the virus.
On Thursday, IDPH officials also reported 1,840 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals throughout Illinois, 453 of whom are in intensive care.
The health department said 3,344 new cases of the disease were diagnosed, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections recorded in Illinois to 1,627,508 since the outset of the pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 patients has dropped 8.4% statewide from just one week ago, according to IDPH records.
Currently, the state's seven-day case positivity rate is at 2.2%, its lowest point since July 17. Case positivity is the percentage of new cases derived from a batch of tests. A seven-day average is used to account for any anomalies in the daily reporting of those figures.
IDPH officials also reported 27,097 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Illinois residents and workers.
That brings the total number of doses administered in Illinois to 14,555,022, according to IDPH records.
The IDPH is reporting 55.2% of the state's 12.7 million residents are fully vaccinated.