Illinois responsible for 5.8% of nation's new COVID-19 cases this week
Only two other states have recorded more new COVID-19 cases than Illinois over the past seven days.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 116,802 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Illinois represent 5.8% of all new cases nationwide this week.
Florida and California recorded more cases.
Over the past week, Illinois averaged 16,686 new cases a day, the highest level ever.
Nationally, the U.S. is also averaging more new cases a day than ever before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country is now averaging 265,000 new cases a day, university researchers reported.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported another 21,098 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed statewide Wednesday, the second day in a row that more than 20,000 new cases were reported by the state agency.
The new surge is largely being blamed on the omicron variant. IDPH officials said Wednesday 440 omicron cases have now been diagnosed statewide from a sampling of cases that only began being tested in mid-December. Just two days ago, the sampling had found only 177 omicron cases in Illinois.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, said Wednesday that there is no need to cancel small home gatherings among vaccinated and boosted family and friends.
But, he added, "If your plans are to go to a 40- to 50-person New Year's Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year, I would strongly recommend that this year we not do that."
Since the outset of the pandemic, 2,119,162 total COVID-19 infections have been recorded by IDPH officials.
Additionally, Illinois hospitals are treating 5,471 COVID-19 patients, IDPH figures show. That's 271 more patients than the day before.
Of those hospitalized, 984 are in intensive care.
IDPH officials also reported 50 more COVID-19 deaths, pushing the state's death toll from the virus to 27,734.
The state's seven-day case positivity rate is at 9.1%, up from 8.9% the day before. Case positivity is the percentage of COVID-19 tests that result in a new case, and a seven-day average is used to account for anomalies in the daily reporting of these figures.
Meanwhile, another 71,488 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Illinois, according to IDPH records.
Since vaccines became available more than a year ago, providers in Illinois have administered 19,106,181 doses.
The CDC reports 64.2% of the state's 12.7 million residents are fully vaccinated.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.