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Illinois COVID-19 hospitalizations back to lowest level since August

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Illinois have fallen by 10% since last week and 28% since last month.

A man wearing a mask enters a Logan Square gym in August. After a surge in Delta variant cases, Illinois COVID-19 numbers are back down to the lowest levels seen since mid- August.
A man wearing a mask enters a Logan Square gym in August. After a surge in Delta variant cases, Illinois COVID-19 numbers are back down to the lowest levels seen since mid- August.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Most of Illinois’ key COVID-19 metrics are back down to the lowest levels seen since mid-summer, according to figures released by public health officials Friday.

The state’s seven-day case positivity rate is down to 2.1%, suggesting community transmission is as low as it’s been since July 16, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That number has shrunk by half over the last month.

Officials from the agency reported 1,653 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Thursday night, a 10% decline from a week ago and a 28% drop from a month ago — and the lowest number of occupied beds since Aug. 12.

COVID-19 deaths have continued a steady slowdown as well, with the 209 lives lost over the past week representing an 11% decline from the previous week.

A total of 19,244 Illinoisans tested positive for the virus over the past week , an average of 2,749 new infections per day. That marked a 3% increase in cases from the previous week, but it came along with a 7% jump in the number of tests performed.

New COVID-19 cases by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

After a brutal month of exponential, Delta variant-fueled case growth in August that eventually packed intensive care units across southern Illinois, numbers have slowly improved as more people have gotten vaccinated.

Just over 80% of Illinois residents 12 or older have gotten at least one shot, with 63% now considered fully vaccinated.

And with some of those residents becoming eligible for Pfizer vaccine boosters, the state’s daily vaccination average shot up by 58% compared to the previous week. More than a quarter-million shots went into Illinois arms over the past seven days.

“Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic,” state Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.

About 74% of Chicagoans have gotten a shot. The city is aiming to reach 77% by the end of the year — and they’re still offering up $100 Visa gift cards to residents who roll up a sleeve.

The incentive is offered at city-run mobile vaccination events and at in-home shot appointments that can be booked at (312) 746-4835.