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Rising COVID-19 numbers bring more warnings from Illinois officials

Rising COVID-19 numbers bring more warnings from Illinois officials

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State public health officials again warned on Tuesday that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are on the rise, preventing the state from moving forward in its reopening plan.

Rising COVID-19 numbers led Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to warn via Twitter that “the pandemic is not over.” She specifically pointed to the Northwest Side Jefferson Park neighborhood’s seven-day rolling positivity rate of 8%, which the mayor said was “unacceptable.”

The citywide positivity rate as of Monday was 4.2%, up one percentage point from last week. During that same period, the daily average of cases went up 473, or 34% — despite average tests per day going down 3%.

Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said having 400 or more cases a day equals the threshold for states that get put on Chicago’s emergency travel order list.

Emergency department visits also have spiked this month with a seven-day average landing around 80 visits per day. Intensive care unit occupation is stable, but Arwady has said that figures tend to lag the rest of the metrics.

State officials reported 2,404 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, accounting for a seven-day average of 2,440, the highest since 2,459 average cases were reported Feb. 12.

The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a share of total tests was 3.4% as of Monday, the highest level since the same rate was recorded the week ending Feb. 7.

As of Monday night, 1,352 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 308 patients in intensive care units and 121 patients on ventilators. The seven-day average of total hospitalizations is 1,319, the highest since an average of 1,322 was recorded March 2.

An additional 86,812 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in Illinois on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 5,664,426. The state averaged a record 105,040 vaccines administered daily over the last seven days.

The number of residents who have been fully vaccinated — receiving both of the required shots, or Johnson & Johnson’s single shot — reached 2,110,089, or 16.56% of the total population.

The state last Friday told local health departments in areas where demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has waned that they can offer shots to anyone 16 or older.

Since then, state-supported mass vaccinations sites in Springfield, Quincy and Carbondale have opened to any Illinois resident old enough to be vaccinated.

The state has not responded to requests for comment on how many local health departments have expanded eligibility following Friday’s announcement.

Outside Chicago, eligibility will expand statewide on April 12 to include anyone 16 or older.

Also Tuesday, the state reported 17 additional cases of the coronavirus variant that was first seen in the United Kingdom for a total of 218. Officials previously identified three cases of the variant that originated in South Africa, 19 cases of the variant from Brazil and 27 cases of the variant from California.

Officials also reported 17 additional fatalities Tuesday, reaching a statewide death toll of 21,273. The total number of known infections in Illinois since the start of the pandemic is 1,241,993.

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