Coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations down, but positivity rate up to start new year
Public health officials on Saturday announced 29 more Illinois deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 while the virus has spread to an additional 4,762 people.
That’s the lowest coronavirus death count reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health in a single day since Nov. 13, and a far cry from the statewide average of 111 deaths per day over the last two weeks.
Twelve Chicago-area residents were among the latest victims, including a Cook County man in his 50s.
The new caseload was also well below the state’s average of 5,785 per day over the last two weeks, but that’s mostly because laboratories have been processing far fewer tests over the holidays.
1:18 p.m. City shuts down 2 NYE parties, issues several notices for violating COVID-19 restrictions
City officials shut down two parties on Near Year’s Eve and issued seven notices to businesses for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
But overall, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection reported a high level of compliance and a “relatively quiet night” of enforcement as Chicago rang in 2021.
City officials said they responded to 21 calls for violations of COVID-19 regulations.
The harshest measures were taken against The Dugout, 950 W. Addison St., which was shut down until further notice after police and fire officials discovered a “large, over-capacity gathering,” the department said.
The city also shut down a party as it was being set up at a repurposed auto repair shop at 748 W. 91st St. in the Brainerd neighborhood, officials said.
Four other notices were handed to hotels that allowed overcrowding in guest rooms or the lobby, including the Congress Plaza Hotel in the Loop.
Officers responded to the hotel about 10:35 p.m. in the 500 block of South Michigan Avenue and found at least one room that exceeded capacity, according to a police spokeswoman.
11:59 a.m. Cook County closes 2020 with record highs of 875 gun-related homicides, 1,599 opioid deaths
Cook County saw more gun-related homicides and opioid-related deaths in 2020 than in any other year on record, authorities said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office, which investigates and processes deaths in Chicago and its suburbs, announced Friday it closed out the year with the “grim” statistics of 970 homicides, 1,599 opioid overdose deaths and 8,192 COVID-19 related deaths.
Guns were involved in 875 of the homicides, breaking the previous record of 838 set in 1994.
Overall, the agency handled a record number of 16,049 deaths this year, shattering the past record of 10,654 deaths set in 1977. The average number is usually around 6,200 for the medical examiner’s office, which probes all suicides, homicides, accidental deaths and any others considered unusual or suspicious.
9:09 a.m. 157 coronavirus deaths reported in Illinois
Illinois reported 7,201 new cases of coronavirus Friday, a slight decrease from the number of cases that had been surging in the past couple of days, according to officials.
The number of new COVID-19 patients was down from the 8,009 cases reported Thursday. Friday’s cases come out of 97,222 tests, which is also down from the number of tests reported Thursday.
State health officials said 157 people died from the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, up from 133 deaths a day earlier. Of those who died, 58 people were Cook County residents who ranged in age from 40 to 90 years old.
Although the Illinois Department of Public Health reported fewer new cases, the state’s average positivity rate increased for a fifth straight day, up to 8.1%.
As of Thursday night, 4,093 people diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized. Of that number, 837 were ICU patients and 496 were on ventilators.
In total, Illinois has had 970,590 people test positive for COVID-19, and there have been 16,647 deaths related to the virus since the pandemic started, according to the state health department.
- Illinois public health officials reported 7,201 new cases of coronavirus Friday, a slight decrease from the number of cases that had been surging in the past couple of days, according to officials.
Analysis & Commentary
9:13 a.m. Young or old, COVID-19 took them too soon in 2020
We wish Samuel Linares could have been with us longer. Chef Linares owned La Casa de Samuel, a highly praised restaurant in Little Village, having worked his way up and honed his skills in some of the finest restaurants in Mexico.
We wish Leroy Hearon were still here, too. Lt. Hearon was a Chicago firefighter who loved to tango. He traveled the world just to dance.
And we sure wish Flossie Lee Bournes were still with us. Ms. Bournes was a nurse who cared for victims of AIDS in the early days of that health crisis, back when AIDS frightened people so much that families sometimes abandoned those who had the disease.
Why did Ms. Bournes take the risk?
“The Lord knew where I was supposed to be,” she would often say. “Here — taking care of his children.”
Mr. Linares, Lt. Hearon and Ms. Bournes are among the more than 8,000 people in Cook County who died in 2020 of COVID-19, and among the more than 16,000 people in Illinois who died of the disease. They were older, for the most part, but engaged in life, and there is every reason to believe they might still be with us had it not been for the coronavirus.
They left us too soon because we, as a society, did too little to contain COVID-19.