Illinois has averaged more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day over the past week, a level the state has not reached since late February.
The Illinois Department of Public Health records released Friday show that the state has had an average of 2,007 new cases a day since April 9, with 14,049 new infections reported in the past week. That is 30% more than the week before.
The state’s seven-day case positivity rate has also risen 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 rise in cases, but note that state hospitalization and vaccine coverage rates remain in good shape.
“This is something we’re starting to see happening nationally, especially in the Northeast, in the last few days,” said IDPH’s acting director Amaal Tokars. “It’s something not to be ignored, but at the same time the admissions remain stable, which is what we want.”
Hospitals in Illinois are currently treating 464 COVID-19 patients. That’s 38 fewer than a week ago and down from nearly 1,200 COVID-19 patients admitted last time, the state on average had more than 2,000 new cases a day.
But increases in hospitalizations and deaths have delayed new cases by weeks through the pandemic, so those numbers are likely to rise if new cases continue to grow.
Of those currently hospitalized, 70 are in intensive care. That’s up from 62 a week ago, IDPH records show.
IDPH officials now report that 33,510 Illinois residents have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and 3,094,485 infections have been reported.
“It’s so important to consider getting vaccinated now and being boosted,” Tokars said. “And this is a good time to do it.”
The increase in cases was due to the presence of the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant of the virus.
Earlier this week, the spike led to federal regulators postponing the repeal of a masked mandate for public transportation until May 3rd. Pennsylvania officials also reintroduced an indoor mask mandate nationwide after an increase in cases was reported there.
Tokars said the biggest 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 at present, 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’s website.
Anything under 200 new cases for every 100,000 residents a week is considered low risk.
The rate in Cook County is less than 120 per. 100,000 inhabitants. It’s 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 is at 2.7% in the suburb of Cook County, up from 2.4% a week ago. But it’s at 5.2% in DuPage County, an increase of a full percentage point in a week, IDPH records show.
Chicago is at 3.9%, although a week ago the 7-day positivity rate was less than 1.8%.
“We are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the suburbs of Cook County, which is worrying but not surprising given the number of people traveling during the spring break and the increase in the BA.2 variant across the country,” he said. Dr. Rachel Rubin, colead and senior physician at the Cook County Department of Public Health. “We are pleased to report that 86% of Cook County suburbs 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 serious illness or death. “
The CDC reports that 68.5% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, and of the 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 children between the ages of 5 and 11, the company announced this week.