The coronavirus has killed an additional 81 people in Illinois and infected another 4,469, state health officials announced Sunday.
That brings the state’s pandemic death toll to 16,755.
Of Sunday’s fatalities, 62 were reported in the Chicago area and included a Cook County man in his 30s.
The new cases were detected among the latest batch of 45,465 tests processed by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day, which is the smallest batch processed in a 24-hour span since Oct. 5. Over the last two weeks, the state has averaged nearly 75,000 tests each day.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate — a figure experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading — remains at 8.3%, snapping a six-day streak of the state seeing that figure rise. That number has increased 1 1⁄2 percentage points over the last week since it checked in at 6.8% last Sunday, which was the lowest it had been since Oct. 29. Still, that number remains well below a late fall high of 13% during the height of the state’s record-breaking coronavirus resurgence.
Meanwhile, other COVID-19 metrics have continued to trend in the right direction, including statewide hospitalization figures.
After peaking with nearly 6,200 occupied beds on Nov. 20, Illinois hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have been on a gradual decline over the last six weeks. As of Saturday night, 3,817 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 789 of those patients in intensive-care units and 462 on ventilators, officials said.
That’s one positive takeaway as the state continues to distribute the coronavirus vaccine. Over the last month, nearly 144,000 people in Illinois have received the first dose of the vaccine.
It will be several months before shots are available for most of the state’s 12.7 million residents, officials have said. Frontline hospital and health care workers were first in line for the vaccine. They’re followed by long-term care facility residents, essential workers and people 65 or older with underlying health conditions.
With that in mind, the Illinois Department of Public Health took to Twitter Sunday to encourage people to wear their masks and adhere to the Center of Disease Control’s recommendations even as some have started to get vaccinated.
“Until there is enough COVID-19 vaccine for everyone, we must all continue to practice the 3 W’s. WEAR a mask. WASH your hands. WATCH your distance,” the department tweeted.
In total, 979,821 people in Illinois have been confirmed to have the virus among the nearly 13.4 million tests processed over the last 10 months. That’s about 7.7% of the state’s population. The statewide recovery rate is 98%.