BREAKING: Illinois Covid Numbers Rocket Up 40 Percent, Pritzker Looking At Stronger Restrictions
BREAKING NEWS: As Illinois covid-19 cases skyrocket, the omicron variant begins to spread across the state, and hospitalizations explode, Gov. JB Pritzker admitted that he is looking at stronger restrictions for the state.
“We’re looking at everything that has been done over the last few years, always, but what we’re really focused on is making sure that people are following the masking requirements indoors,” Pritzker said during a press conference. “Thank you to all of you who are doing that.”
When a reporter pressed Pritzker on stronger restrictions being implemented in the state as numbers rocket upward, the governor said local governments should “certainly look at stricter mitigations.” Pritzker refrained from elaborating at this point.
Illinois cases are up over 40 percent since the start of December, with 49,668 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 266 additional deaths, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In total there have been 1,884,744 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 26,801 deaths due to covid.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests increased to 5.8% this week, and Illinois recorded more than 9,500 new COVID cases on Saturday, and 9,301 cases on Thursday.
All 11 of Illinois regions are seeing rising numbers, with many pushing over the numbers which last triggered a statewide shutdown.
All 11 of the regions has had increased hospitalizations over 9 of the last 10 days, with hospitalizations for the state jumping up over 40 percent in the last two weeks. Region 1, located in northwestern Illinois, is already at a 9.5 percent positivity rate; 8 percent was the previous trigger for shutdown, combined with ICU bed availability below 20 percent. Under the previous metrics, Region 1 would’ve been shut down. Other regions, including Region 7 in the Chicago western suburbs, and Region 5 in southern Illinois, are likewise nearing those metrics.
There are currently 3,513 patients hospitalized due to COVID in the state of Illinois, the most in a year, with 748 patients in ICU beds, a 48 percent increase in the last two weeks. There are only 375 ICU beds open statewide, which is only 12 percent of the number of beds total statewide. Over 350 of the ventilators available in the state are currently occupied with covid patients.
As reported last week on QuadCities.com, the omicron covid variant has invaded Illinois, infecting at least one person in Chicago, prompting fears of a wide spread in the third-largest city in the United States. The Chicagoan infected by the omicron variant was both fully vaccinated with two shots and had gotten their third booster dose. They were tested at the hospital and dinged positive but did not require hospitalization and are recovering at home. It’s not known when they were infected or how many others they might have infected before they began showing symptoms and were tested. In addition, several other Chicagoans have been tested and some suspect that many others may pop positive for the omicron variant in the next few days. A doctor who discovered the variant in Chicago said it’s an ominous sign.
“A sample that had been submitted to the Regional Innovative Public Health Lab was suspicious for Omicron,” said Dr. Mary Hayden with Rush University Medical Center. “Omicron has many mutations that the other circulating variants don’t have and because it’s distinctive in that way, we could very quickly identify it as Omicron.”
“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.