Illinois public health officials on Wednesday reported 5,178 new cases of COVID-19, marking a seven-month high for infections diagnosed in a single day.
The state was still easing down from its worst surge of the pandemic the last time daily cases topped 5,000 on Jan. 22. It’s still not clear when Illinois’ latest coronavirus wave might slow down, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said he’s “hopeful” the state is nearing a peak.
The new cases were confirmed among about 96,000 tests, keeping the seven-day average statewide case positivity rate at 5.1%. That key metric has hovered near that mark for three weeks, suggesting the rate of community transmission has remained relatively stable — but it’s still increased by a factor of eight overall since late June.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,242 COVID-19 patients Tuesday night, a decrease of 24 from the previous night. Pritzker on Tuesday pointed to a “flattening” in the number of new hospital admissions as cause for cautious optimism.
“We’ve got to really see the curve heading downward. But I’m very hopeful of that,” he said on Tuesday.
New COVID-19 cases by day
Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health
The state also reported another 26 COVID-19 fatalities, raising the pandemic death toll to 23,979. More than 1.5 million residents have been confirmed infected since March 2020.
The highly infectious Delta variant is driving more than 99% of new cases in the Midwest, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of those are among people who haven’t been vaccinated, experts say.
About 77% of eligible Illinoisans have gotten at least one shot. Nearly 60% of residents 12 or older have completed their vaccine series.
Any Chicagoan can request an in-home vaccination by calling (312) 746-4835. For help finding a shot in suburban Cook County, visit cookcountypublichealth.org or call (833) 308-1988. To find other Illinois providers, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.