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Mitchell Armentrout is a staff reporter covering Illinois casinos, video gaming, sports betting and gambling regulation.

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Omicron’s exponential rise followed by ‘exponential decay,’ but COVID deaths keep mounting

The surge is still being felt sharply in intensive care units across Illinois, which are still 88% full. And with four days left in the month, the state has suffered almost as many COVID deaths in January (2,651) as it did over the previous three months combined (2,941).

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Blue-chip effort to paint state red? Top GOP donors pony up for Irvin in governor’s race — but Griffin not yet among them

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin put his first round of cash to use with a television ad portraying himself as a law-and-order candidate who "shut down the riots" as mayor amid 2020 civil unrest in Aurora, claiming he "called in the guard" to quell looting — although in reality, that power is reserved for the governor.

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Omicron still ominous: ‘Rapid decrease’ in most COVID-19 metrics stirs hope, but Illinois death rate sparks flashbacks

While deaths "still are quite high" in Chicago at a rate of about 19 per day, other numbers suggest relief could be on the way, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

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Omicron anguish: Cook County records 14,000th COVID-19 death as worst surge wanes — but fatalities rise

The state has averaged 107 deaths per day over the past week, a stretch that saw Cook County lose a total of 425 residents to the virus — the worst week since mid-November 2020.

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Peak may be over, but pain is not: Illinois suffers third-worst daily COVID death toll of pandemic as Omicron surge slows

While cases and hospitalizations are falling, Illinois is still losing 109 lives on average each day. About 14 of every 109 live in the city, the vast majority unvaccinated. "Let me be very clear: There are still more than 200 Chicagoans being newly admitted [to hospitals] every day with COVID-19," said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

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Legal fees — or not? State’s top court asked to stop pols under scrutiny from using campaign funds to pay defense lawyers

Justices heard arguments hinging on whether the high-priced criminal defenses that so many Illinois officials have had to pony up for amount to "personal" expenses prohibited by campaign financing law.

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Precipitous peak: Omicron surge shows signs of easing — but officials warn in weeks ahead ‘hundreds more may die’

"We are not out of the woods, and we need people to be very careful over these next few weeks," Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. Gov. J.B. Pritzker observed, "I am cautiously optimistic about this decline, but there are an awful lot of people still battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois."

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COVID-19 now killing 105 Illinoisans per day: ‘This is going to hurt for a long time’

Even though Omicron generally seems to cause milder infections and doctors have gotten better at treating COVID, the sheer volume of cases means there is more agony on the way, experts say. "We’ve been on this ride before. We know how this works," University of Chicago’s Dr. Emily Landon said.

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Four Omicron myths: Dispelling misguided and ‘flat out harmful’ theories about the still dangerous variant — and that part is no myth

With coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high across Illinois, experts say it’s critical for residents to continue following basic precautions — and to stop dismissing the most infectious variant yet as "mild."

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Pritzker envía miles de trabajadores de la salud para ayudar a los hospitales inundados de pacientes no vacunados

El gobernador J.B. Pritzker anunció el miércoles que va a enviar a más de 2,000 trabajadores de salud contratados a hospitales de todo Illinois.