Thanksgiving gatherings add to latest COVID-19 hospitalization spike, highest since January
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have risen to their highest point since Jan. 22, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Wednesday, a sign the latest virus surge isn't slacking off, experts said.
Patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 3,105 as of Tuesday night, compared to the seven-day average of 2,787.6.
Asked how much holiday gatherings have contributed, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Medical Director Michael Bauer said "the Thanksgiving piece is starting to hit now and really will just add some fuel to the fire, so to speak. But when you look at these statistics, this uptick occurred before those cases would have been spreading."
Around the end of October, Lake Forest Hospital was "down to single-digit hospitalizations," Bauer said. "We started today with 42. That's six times as many people hospitalized, and again it's predominantly unvaccinated people."
Statewide case positivity rates dipped to 4.3%, the lowest since Nov. 30 after hovering between 4.5% and 4.9%. But that also reflects a robust number of COVID-19 tests, which totaled 197,555 in the last 24 hours compared to the seven-day average of 172,286.
New cases of COVID-19 totaled 6,658 Wednesday, with 14 more people dying from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.
On Tuesday, 81,362 more COVID-19 vaccine shots were administered. The seven-day average is 71,745.
So far, 7,510,469 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, nearly 59% of the state's 12.7 million residents. The federal government has delivered 20,431,885 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December 2020, and 17,850,055 shots have been administered.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,867,912 and 26,712 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.