State health officials on Sunday announced 7,178 new and probable COVID-19 cases and another 57 virus-related deaths, marking the third consecutive day Illinois — which had been averaging 11,045 new cases this month — recorded a caseload fewer than 8,000.
This weekend’s drop in new cases can mostly be attributed to the relatively low number of coronavirus tests that have been reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health over the holiday weekend.
The new cases — which was the smallest daily caseload recorded in Illinois in more than 3 1⁄2 weeks — were found among a batch of 62,740 tests processed in the last day, the least amount of tests recorded in 24 hours since Oct. 27.
Illinois’ seven-day statewide positivity rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly three weeks. As of Sunday, that figure, which experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading, checked in at 10.1%, down from 11.3% last week.
Meanwhile, statewide hospitalizations have slowly trended downward over the last nine days after the state peaked with 6,175 occupied beds Nov. 20. As of Saturday night, 5,858 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 1,185 of those patients in intensive-care units and 723 on ventilators, officials said.
Since March, nearly 12,200 Illinoisans have succumbed to the coronavirus or died of virus-related complications. More than half of Sunday’s fatalities were reported in the Chicago area.
In total, 720,114 people in Illinois have been confirmed to have the virus among the more than 10.4 million tests processed over the last eight months. That’s about 5.7% of the state’s population.
Most people who contract the virus show mild to no symptoms, and the state boasts a recovery rate of 97%.
Health officials have said they’re preparing for a potential surge in cases attributed to people who gathered with family for Thanksgiving. Such spike in positive tests could begin appearing in the data as early as next week, experts say.