Illinois public health officials urge caution during holiday weekend

The state reported 2,120 new coronavirus cases during the past seven days.

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A woman receives a coronavirus vaccination shot.

Illinois public health officials on Friday urged caution over the July Fourth weekend — particularly for those who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Even as the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to remain low, Illinois public health officials urged people to be careful during the holiday weekend — particularly in light of the prevalence of the more contagious Delta variant.

“Celebrate the Fourth of July weekend while exercising appropriate caution,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “While many events are outside, it is still important for unvaccinated people to take precautions and, when necessary, avoid large crowds where social distancing is not possible.

“For indoor events, unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks, and vaccinated individuals may choose to do so as well as the more virulent strain of COVID-19, Delta variant, increases in Illinois.”

The state on Friday reported 2,120 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus and an additional 54 deaths since June 25. About 72% of Illinois adults have received at least one shot of the vaccine, with 56% of adults are now fully vaccinated, according to state statistics.

The weekly caseload is the highest since the state switched to reporting seven-day totals last month in lieu of the regular daily updates and briefings.

It averages out to just under 303 cases a day over the past week, still less than half the daily counts recorded a month ago.

But the 2,120 cases over the past week is more than twice the first weekly total of 928 reported June 18.

The 54 deaths reported over the past week average out to just under eight a day, down from the double-digit daily counts regularly reported until the middle of last month.

As of Thursday night, 424 people were hospitalized with COVID-19; of those, 97 patients were in intensive care and 35 patients were on ventilators.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 0.9%.

A total of 12,648,167 vaccine shots have been administered to date. Since June 25, 288,050 does of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Illinois, according to the state.

The state is also reporting a total of 1,392,552 cases of the disease, resulting in a total of 23,245 deaths.

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