COVID-19 hospitalizations up nearly 87% from one month ago, back over 1,000
Illinois hospitals are now treating 1,060 COVID-19 patients, 116 of whom are in intensive care.
That's the highest number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds in more than two months.
That's also a 16.6% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations from a week ago, and an 86.6% jump from one month ago, according to Illinois Department of Public Health records released Friday.
IDPH officials also announced 56 more Illinois residents have died of COVID-19 over the past week, bringing the state's death toll from the disease to 33,761 since the outset of the pandemic.
Another 40,193 cases were also diagnosed since May 13, including 4,692 more Friday. So far, IDPH officials have recorded 3,249,534 COVID-19 infections over the course of the pandemic.
While the seven-day case positivity rate has started to decline, public health officials are worried that not all new cases are being counted because of the prevalence of home-testing kits and no requirement to report those infections.
Eight downstate Illinois counties are now at high-risk community levels, meaning the county is seeing more than 200 new cases for every 100,000 residents over the past week and hospitals in those counties are seeing 10 or more new COVID-19 admissions for every 100,000 residents during the same time period.
Public health officials recommend a return to masking indoors in high-risk counties.
Cook County and suburban DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties are all at medium level. Most of the northern part of the state is at a medium level as well, while the southern half is predominantly at a low risk.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 69.3% of the state's 12.8 million residents are fully vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, 52% have received at least one booster dose. CDC records also show 20.3% of those who received the first booster have received a second booster.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on children ages 5 to 11 this week, followed by the CDC's recommendation.
In Illinois, the CDC is reporting 415,748 children in that age group are fully vaccinated.
IDPH officials have endorsed the federal recommendations, saying the booster will "safely help restore and enhance protection against severe disease."
Any children in that age group who received their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine five months ago or longer are eligible.
However, the CDC recommends any children who are fully vaccinated and eligible for the booster, but recently tested positive for the disease should consider delaying the booster by three months because "studies have shown that increased time between infection and vaccination may result in an improved immune response to vaccination."