BREAKING: Illinois Covid Numbers Soar To Record Highs; New Restrictions Returning Soon?
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois covid numbers soared to record highs yesterday, with almost 12,000 new cases of the virus, record hospitalizations and deaths, and with more omicron cases being identified in the state, both Gov. JB Pritkzer and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are talking about more restrictions being put in place.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 11,858 new confirmed and probable cases of covid over the last 24 hours, a record high for 2021, and the highest since Dec. 1, 2020, when 12,542 new cases were reported. The state is now averaging more than 8,000 new cases per day, its highest since the previous peak of December 2020.
There were also 52 new covid-related deaths reported in the last 24 hours, and 3,725 hospitalizations statewide due to covid — both are high water marks over the past year. The IDPH has now reported 1,933,291 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, and 27,065 deaths statewide.
Fewer than 10 percent of the state’s intensive care unit beds are now available due to the spike, with 772 patients in intensive care unit beds statewide, the highest number since Jan. 6, 2021. Almost 400 of those patients are on ventilators.
In addition, the more contagious omicron variant has now been identified in multiple locations around Chicago, as another patient in Cook County in the Chicago suburbs was identified. The city location of the patient was not given, but the IDPH said that other cases were expected to be identified soon as “there are other cases that are currently being genotyped for omicron.”
In the meantime, as has been hinted at for weeks, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker once again came closer to enacting new statewide restrictions, and gave his blessing to any cities or counties that wanted to do so unilaterally to stop the spread.
“Illinois has some of the most stringent mitigations already,” Pritzker said. “That is wearing masks indoors. That is what the mitigation regime needs to be get vaccinated wear a mask indoors, you know, please socially distance, especially if you don’t know the people that you’re with. I know that people are gathering during this holiday season, just be extra careful.”
In the same question and answer session with media, Pritzker encouraged authorities around the state to “implement more stringent mitigations as they see fit,” and did not rule out more statewide mandates coming from him.
Illinois’ trends for restrictions tend to begin in Chicago, and spread throughout the state, and in the third-largest city in the U.S. its mayor, Lori Lightfoot, admitted that they are looking at more restrictions before the holiday to stop the quickening spread of the virus.
In a press conference, Lightfoot said they haven’t “landed on one particular strategy,” but are looking at a number of options, and said that the restrictions would be “made in a patient and methodical manner.”
“We are looking at a number of different strategies that can help us deal with this latest surge, but we always do that in partnership and in communication with the individuals and the businesses that are going to be affected,” she said. “We don’t unilaterally impose anything.”
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are currently 3,513 patients hospitalized due to COVID in the state of Illinois, the highest number of patients since mid-January.
As reported last week on QuadCities.com, 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.
Illinois cases are up over 40 percent since the start of December, and officials are finally admitting that they’ve been looking at expanding statewide restrictions.
“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.