Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate jumps to highest level since late January; 2,433 new cases

The state’s seven-day test positivity rate jumped to 4.4% and continued an incremental upward trend that could lead officials to again place stronger restrictions on businesses. The statewide positivity rate had dipped to 2.1% on March 13.

SHARE Illinois’ COVID-19 positivity rate jumps to highest level since late January; 2,433 new cases
Rush University Medical Center staff collect nasopharyngeal swab samples to test people for the coronavirus at the hospital’s drive-thru testing site, Thursday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2020.

Rush University Medical Center staff collect swab samples last fall.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Officials on Monday announced that Illinois’ coronavirus test positivity rate has reached its highest point since late January, when a previous surge in cases was tapering off.

The seven-day positivity rate — a crucial figure for measuring the virus’ spread — jumped to 4.4% and continued an incremental upward trend that could lead officials to again place stronger restrictions on businesses. The statewide positivity rate had dipped to 2.1% on March 13.

Chicago’s numbers are even more alarming. On Monday, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported that the city’s positivity rate now sits at 5.6% — up from 5.1% just a week earlier.

Last week, CPDH spokesman Andrew Buchanan said that figure and other important metrics, including case numbers and hospital data, would factor into any decision to implement stronger mitigations and restrictions, including barring fans from baseball games.

The World Health Organization has advised governments that test positivity rates should remain at or below 5% for 14 days before reopening.

The Illinois Department of Health also announced 2,433 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed from 53,115 tests. Eighteen additional deaths were also reported.

Nearly 2,000 people diagnosed with the virus were hospitalized Sunday, according to the agency’s data. That’s the highest number of statewide hospitalizations since Feb. 10.

Meanwhile, the number of inoculations administered Sunday dropped to 64,772 after five straight six-figure vaccination days, state health officials reported. So far, more than 7.2 million vaccine doses have gone into arms.

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