Illinois averaging more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. That has health officials concerned.
Illinois is averaging more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day over the past week, a level the state hasn't reached since late February.
Illinois Department of Public Health records released Friday show the state has averaged 2,007 new cases a day since April 9, with 14,049 new infections reported in the past week. That's 30% more than the week prior.
The state's seven-day case positivity rate has also climbed to 3.1%, up from 2.1% a week ago, IDPH figures show.
State and local public health officials have expressed concern about the recent spike in cases, but they note the state's hospitalization and vaccine coverage figures remain in good shape.
"It's something we started seeing happening nationally, particularly in the Northeast, in the past few days," IDPH acting director Amaal Tokars said. "It's something that shouldn't be ignored, but at the same time, hospitalizations remain stable, which is what we want."
Illinois hospitals are currently treating 464 COVID-19 patients. That's 38 fewer than a week ago and down from nearly 1,200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized the last time the state was averaging more than 2,000 new cases a day.
However, increases in hospitalizations and deaths have lagged new cases by weeks throughout the pandemic, so it's likely those figures will climb if new cases continue to grow.
Of those currently hospitalized, 70 are in ICU beds. That's up from 62 a week ago, IDPH records show.
IDPH officials are now reporting 33,510 Illinois residents have died from COVID-19 since the outset of the pandemic, and 3,094,485 infections have been reported.
"It is so important to consider getting vaccinated now and get boosted," Tokars said. "And it's such a good time to do that."
The rise in cases is being blamed on the prevalence of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant of the virus.
The spike led federal regulators earlier this week to postpone lifting a mask mandate for public transit until May 3. Philadelphia officials also reinstated an indoor mask mandate after an increase in cases were reported there.
Tokars said the largest growth in cases has come from the Chicago area and around Champaign.
Champaign County is the only county in Illinois at a medium-risk community level currently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county is experiencing nearly 400 new cases for every 100,000 residents over the past week, according to the CDC website.
Anything under 200 new cases for every 100,000 residents for the week is considered low risk.
The rate in Cook County is at less than 120 per 100,000 residents. It's at 123 in DuPage County, 82 in Kane County, 107 in Lake County, 66 in McHenry County and 79 in Will County.
The seven-day case positivity rate is at 2.7% in suburban Cook County, up from 2.4% a week ago. But it's at 5.2% in DuPage County, up a full percentage point in a week, IDPH records show.
Chicago's at 3.9%, though one week ago the seven-day case positivity rate was at less than 1.8%.
"We are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in suburban Cook County, which is concerning but not surprising due to the number of people who traveled during spring break and the increase in the BA.2 variant throughout the country," said Dr. Rachel Rubin, colead and senior medical officer at the Cook County Department of Public Health. "We're pleased to report 86% of suburban Cook County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and more than 65% are fully vaccinated. Booster rates are lower than desired and are strongly encouraged to prevent severe disease or death."
The CDC is reporting 68.5% of the state's population is fully vaccinated, and of those fully vaccinated 50.6% have received a booster dose.
Boosters have only been approved for adults and older children, but Pfizer is seeking approval to begin booster shots for kids between the ages of 5 and 11, the company announced this week.