BREAKING: Illinois Covid Numbers Exploding, Children’s Hospitalizations Spiking As School Resumes
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois covid-19 numbers continued to soar as the state roared by the 20,000-case barrier for the third time in six days, and children’s cases and hospitalizations are hitting new highs as schools get ready to resume in-person classes next week.
Illinois barely missed hitting a new record for cases over the last 24 hours, as the state reported 21,098 cases, just short of the Christmas Eve, 2021 record of 21,131, according to data released today by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 128,246 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 386 additional deaths and over 320,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In the meantime, more children are being hospitalized for covid throughout Illinois. Pediatric hospitalizations are rising nationwide, and Illinois is one of the top five states in terms of the worst numbers, joining Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.
“So, we have seen that [increase] in some other states very clearly,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Monday. “We’re still looking at our numbers. I have anecdotally talked to many pediatricians who are heads of departments or hospitals who are seeing that there is an increase, so we are going to continue to follow those numbers.”
“We’ve seen our biggest numbers in since the pandemic started actually,” Dr. Michael Cappello, vice chairman for Advocate Children’s Hospital in Chicago told Chicago’s NBC-TV5.
The omicron variant continues to spread across Illinois, particularly in and around Chicago, with one high-profile casualty announcing she has a breakthrough case.
Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton posted on Twitter on Thursday that she has tested positive for a breakthrough case of covid. Stratton posted that she had mild symptoms and “will isolate as I recover.” She also said she was fully vaccinated against covid and had also received a booster shot.
Illinois officials are urging people to continue to get vaccinated against the virus to stop its spread.
“The good news is that the vaccine is still highly protective against infection,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “Although, yes, we are seeing more breakthroughs with the omicron variant.”
“If you think it’s a cold, if you think it’s the flu, it’s probably covid,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a press conference. “We need you to stay home if you’re not feeling well.”
Gov. JB Pritkzer echoed that sentiment in a press conference on Monday, talking about New Year’s Eve celebrations and asking that people consider staying home and curbing back their celebrations. “Omicron and delta are coming to your party,” the governor said.
As previously reported on QuadCities.com, the omicron variant has begun to sweep across Illinois, with confirmed cases in seven counties, all around Chicagoland. The variant was responsible for 73 percent of new cases over the last week nationwide.
In reaction to the exploding numbers, cancellations and new restrictions have begun individually in regions across the state. Beginning Jan. 3, Chicago as well as suburban Cook County — areas in regions 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 — will require proof of vaccination for many indoor public spaces.
Several schools 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.
In addition, theatrical performances and sports around the Chicagoland area, including games by the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, and performances by the Joffrey Ballet, have been canceled or postponed, with more expected to be impacted.
Illinois cases are up over 40 percent since the start of December.
“We have moved into very high transmission,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner. “While unsurprising, this news should remind Chicagoans of the ongoing threat from covid-19, especially as families prepare to come together over the holidays.”
For ongoing coverage of this situation, continue to follow QuadCities.com.