By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
The COVID-19 pandemic claimed 446 lives in Illinois over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend while the rate of hospitalizations declined for the first time since the recent surge began in late September.
As of late Sunday night, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 5,849 people were hospitalized with the disease, bringing the seven-day average number of hospitalizations to 5,944 per day, a decline of 114, or about 1.9 percent, from the previous week.
That number had been rising steadily since the week of Sept. 20, when an average of 1,501 people were being hospitalized each day.
As of Sunday night, 28 percent of all hospital beds available to be staffed in Illinois were open. Of all the hospital beds in use, 17.9 percent were being used by COVID-19 patients.
Of those reported in hospitals on Sunday, 1,217 were in intensive care units. From Tuesday, Nov. 24, to Sunday, Nov. 29, there was an average of 1,209 patients in ICU beds per day, an increase of 30 from the previous week’s average.
Of those in ICU beds on Sunday, 715 were on ventilators. That made for a weekly average of 699 per day, an increase of 113, or about 19 percent, from the prior week.
IDPH also reported Monday that 40,837 new cases of the disease had been confirmed since Wednesday afternoon, for an average of 8,167 per day. Those cases were from 393,461 tests performed, for a five-day positivity rate of 10.4 percent.
The preliminary seven-day rolling average of cases as a percent of tests stood at 10.2 percent, down from 10.9 percent a week earlier.
IDPH said there have now been 726,304 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois since the pandemic began, including 12,278 fatalities. More than a quarter of those fatalities, 3,204, were recorded in November.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.