As COVID-19 case average rises 73% in two weeks, doctor says act as if omicron is in Illinois
Average daily caseloads of COVID-19 spiked in Illinois by 73% over two weeks, and McHenry County surpassed that tally with an increase of more than 74%, state data showed Monday.
The seven-day average for new cases statewide reached 4,129.7 from Nov. 23 to 29 but shot up to 7,146.4 from Nov. 30 through Monday. McHenry went from an average of 136 new infections a day to 237.4.
Suburban Cook County had the lowest bump in the suburbs, with daily caseloads growing by 63%, or from nearly 723 a day from Nov. 23 to 29, compared to 1,179 in the last seven days.
DuPage, Kane and Will counties all saw average caseloads increase by about 72% over two weeks, and Lake County's total rose by 67.6%.
Cook County officials and faith leaders at a briefing Monday urged those eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, with the omicron variant of COVID-19 circulating in the U.S.
"We should act as if (omicron) is in Illinois or Cook County already; it will undoubtedly arrive soon enough," Cook County Department of Public Health Senior Medical Officer Rachel Rubin said. "Variants like omicron are created in, carried around and transferred to others predominantly by unvaccinated individuals."
Scientists are studying how well current vaccines defend against omicron, but "the predominant strain currently is still the delta variant and the vaccines continue to work well to prevent COVID-19 as well as complications from COVID," Rubin said.
Cook County Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Gregory Huhn recommended the latest tool -- COVID-19 at-home testing kits. The DIY tests "are also helpful, particularly as we gather for the holidays. We believe the new omicron variant may be more transmissible, so it is critical to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the greater community at large," Huhn said.
Multiple religious officials encouraged COVID-19 shots. "We should follow the instructions of the health care experts," said Imam Hassan Aly, of The Mecca Center in Willowbrook.
"Get vaccinated, give the gift of love," said Pastor Barry Tidwell of the Rain or Shine Missionary Baptist Church.
New cases of COVID-19 totaled 19,110 over the weekend with 85 more deaths from the respiratory disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,842 COVID-19 patients Sunday night.
There were 207,699 more COVID-19 shots administered from Friday through Sunday. The seven-day average is 68,730.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 4.7% based on a seven-day average.
So far, 7,483,367 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated, or 58.7% of the state's 12.7 million population.
The state does not update COVID-19 data over the weekend, waiting until Monday. New cases came to 6,374 on Saturday, 4,036 on Sunday and 8,700 on Monday.
Deaths from the virus totaled 36 on Saturday, 35 on Sunday and 14 on Monday.
The federal government has delivered 20,325,725 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December 2020, and 17,716,018 shots have been administered.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,854,186, and 26,620 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 148,257 virus tests in the last 24 hours.
For information on where to get a shot, go to vaccines.gov.