With cases up, are we entering another COVID-19 wave?

  • There were 1,553 hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide of Thursday night.

    There were 1,553 hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide of Thursday night. Courtesy of Edward Hospital

Updated 11/13/2021 8:18 AM

With new cases of COVID-19 jumping by 30% in a week statewide, health experts on Friday urged both the vaccine-hesitant and parents of children ages 5 to 11 to schedule shots and tamp down a wave of infections.

"We are on the increase with COVID-19 cases," Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said Friday. "That puts us back into a higher risk status. I worry that as these holidays are coming, we're going to see more of a surge,"


Average new COVID-19 infections topped 2,525 last week. From Sunday to Friday, the daily average was nearly 3,278.

Tempering the sobering news is a spike in vaccinations partly reflecting the Nov. 2 authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11.

On Thursday, 66,821 more COVID-19 shots were administered across Illinois. The seven-day average is 62,689.

As of Friday, the cumulative total of children in the 5-to-11 cohort with one shot was 62,209, a 72% increase compared to Wednesday's tally of 36,142.

Other than arm soreness, "we've not had any issues with side effects (or) anything unexpected," Arwady said.

Asked whether he anticipated a new wave of COVID-19 infections, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Keller said, "I hope not. We have noticed an increase and hospitalizations tend to be a little bit of a lagging metric.

"Our hospitalizations are probably at their highest rate of the past two months or so; still a significant portion of those are unvaccinated individuals," Keller said. He also attributed higher numbers to the highly infectious delta variant and to lax social distancing and masking.

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Similarly, "it's a little too early to tell" if a significant surge is coming, said Dr. Jay Liu, medical director of infectious diseases at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.

The onset of cold weather driving more people into close contact with each other indoors is a risk factor, he noted. "But we have a pretty decent vaccinated base now, and that number is going up as younger kids get vaccinated. My hopes are it won't be nearly as bad as last November."

A year ago, the Illinois Department of Public Health recorded 12,702 new virus cases in November, and the seven-day average was 11,625.

"We're in a better place than we were then, largely due to vaccinations," Liu said.

Liu and Arwady also confirmed cases and hospitalizations mostly involve unvaccinated people. Arwady said individuals who are worried about vaccine side effects or are seeking more information should know "billions of people around the world have now gotten this safe and effective vaccine."


Statewide, new cases of COVID-19 totaled 7,952 over Thursday and Friday, with 49 more deaths, the IDPH reported.

IDPH officials also noted that "new cases of COVID-19 increased 29% from last week."

Patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 1,553 as of Thursday night.

The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 2.5% based on a seven-day average.

There were 4,144 new COVID-19 infections Thursday and 3,808 on Friday. On Thursday, the state recorded 28 deaths from the virus with 21 on Friday. The IDPH did not update COVID-19 data on Veterans Day.

So far, 7,274,337 people in the state have been fully vaccinated, or more than 57% of Illinois' 12.7 million population.

The federal government has delivered 19,421,825 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 16,256,855 shots have been administered.

Total cases statewide stand at 1,735,586, and 26,077 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

Labs processed 173,099 virus tests in the last 24 hours.

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