Illinois set a new record for covid hospitalizations, with 7,353 Illinois hospital patients infected with the virus and 1,152 in intensive care unit beds, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In addition, the cases per day set a new record with 32,173 per day over the past week, and school closings continued to rise this week as districts around the state went to remote learning and Chicago’s teachers remained out of classrooms.

The IDPH reported 28,110 new confirmed and probable cases of covid over the last 24 hours, an increase from the previous day. The state is now averaging 32,173 cases a day over the last week, a new record high. The total cases since the pandemic began is now 2,488,380.

There were 92 new deaths from covid over the past 24 hours, with a state total of 28,660 over the pandemic’s span, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing

Illinois covid numbers, including of the omicron variant, have been soaring over the past month. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Public Health)

Testing results also set new records, with 347,053 test results over the past 24 hours. Positivity rate was 16.9 percent positive for all individuals tested.

The numbers were just the latest in what seems to be a string of expanding cases, being met with a mix of alarm and ennui depending on the audience. That said, despite Gov. JB Pritzker maintaining that he was not going to call for a statewide school shutdown and return to remote learning, and was leaving the decisions to individual school districts, a growing number of those districts went to remote learning this week and several others have hinted they’re considering the option.

Among the new districts and schools going remote this week across the state are Creve Coeur, LaSalle Elementary, Parkview Middle School, Fieldcrest School District, Auburn School District, Decatur’s Parsons Elementary and Dennis Lab School, and Urbana Middle School.

Schools throughout Chicago are already closed, and have been joined by dozens in surrounding Cook County.

Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing

Various members of the Chicago Teachers Union logged into their remote classrooms this week as a sign of solidarity in wanting to move to remote learning to stop the rampant spread of covid among students and teachers.

Thousands of students and staff in the Chicagoland area are now in remote learning or going to remote this week, and a group of Quad-Cities area schools — those of the Prophetstown Lyndon Tampico school district — have moved to remote learning and canceled boys basketball due to the massive surge of covid cases in their district, and they might not be the last, as Moline High School and others are experiencing a huge surge as well, and Davenport School District is considering mandating proof of vaccination or covid test for its employees.

The Prophetstown Lyndon Tampico district released the following on their Facebook yesterday:
Unfortunately due to a large number of positive cases involving students and staff, the 6-12 campus will be moving to remote learning from Friday, January 7th through Monday, January 17th. In-person learning at the campus will resume on Tuesday, January 18th. All extracurricular activities and athletics are paused for these students also.
Students attending PES and TES will continue in-person learning. They are expected to attend during this time unless directed by the health department to quarantine or isolate or are excluded from attendance by district staff.
Thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure the health and wellness of our students and staff.
This comes shortly after the school shut down its high school basketball program with the following announcement:
Beginning today, January 6th, and lasting through January 17th, the EP high school Boys Basketball program will be on a COVID pause. During this time there will be no practices and all events and tournaments will be canceled. The boys basketball program may resume all activities on January 18th, 2022.
Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing

Illinois covid numbers have hit the highest they have ever been during the entire time of the pandemic. The Quad-Cities region’s positivity rate is over 20 percent — a new record.

Following guidance from the IDPH and the IHSA, a 14 day pause is necessary when there is a probable transmission of COVID-19 within an athletic program. While it is sometimes difficult to track specifically where COVID-19 is spread, school administration and school health professionals have determined that the right course of action will be to shut all boys basketball activities down temporarily. This move is both reactive to data that we have collected and preventative as our ultimate goal is to ensure our teams can compete the rest of this season.
What does this mean for the athletes?
1- If you have not been contacted directly by a school health professional you are not deemed to be a close contact and will not need to be excluded from school or other activities.
2- All practice facilities for boys basketball will be closed until 1/18 and no organized team activities may take place.
3- Athletes may complete weight training or conditioning as a part of a school physical education class or on their own at home.
Thank you for your understanding during this time.
Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing
In the meantime, Moline High School principal Trista Sanders sent out a message yesterday to parents notifying them that 45 students and staff had tested positive for covid over the past week. There was no announcement of any remote learning plans or mitigations, just that the school was taking appropriate sanitation and cleaning measures.
This week, school district U-46 in Elgin announced that five of its schools — Highland Elementary, Huff Elementary, Independence Early Learning Center, Parkwood Elementary and Ridge Circle Elementary — will be closed due to staffing shortages. In addition, Lincoln-Way District 210 announced Monday that all of its schools will be in remote learning due to staffing shortages. West Chicago District 33 also has its students in remote learning due to covid cases among students and staff, as more than 10 percent of the entire district workforce is out with covid.

Virginia School District in central Illinois has announced it will go to remote learning as well, as schools in that district have 32.9 percent of students testing positive for covid or having had close exposure to someone with the virus.


In addition, Pike County’s Pleasant Hill School district in central Illinois is also going remote, due to an outbreak of cases of both covid and the flu.

Several colleges across the state announced they’ll be going to remote learning at least to begin the next semester in January. Northwestern, DePaul and University of Chicago in Cook County will all begin as remote learning, as will University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign in downstate Champaign and Illinois State University. In addition, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has told students, faculty and staff that they must test negative for covid-19 within 48 hours of returning to campus, including those who have been vaccinated, and those who have not been vaccinated will have to continue to be tested weekly.

Schools in several major cities around the country including Atlanta and Detroit have also opted to go to remote learning, as many educational systems nationwide decide to shut down in-person instruction amidst record covid numbers.

Statewide there are no plans to reinstate online learning as the decision is typically made at a school district level, Gov. JB Pritzker said.

For ongoing coverage of this situation, continue to follow


Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
Illinois Covid Hospitalizations And Cases Roar To New Record, School Closings Skyrocketing

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