Hospitalizations, deaths spike as omicron variant spreads
By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health said Friday that the state had recorded 201,428 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous week, a 57 percent increase over the previous week, while the weekly number of deaths rose 15 percent, to 444 as the omicron variant of the virus continues to spread.
Those cases were confirmed out of more than 1.3 million laboratory tests performed over the previous week, which brought the preliminary statewide case positivity rate to 15.2 percent
Those case counts are the highest of any since the pandemic began, according to IDPH data, although the death rate is well below the pandemic peak of a year ago. On Thursday alone, the state recorded more than 44,000 new cases, the highest single-day case count since the pandemic began.
That brings the total number of cases since the pandemic began to just under 2.4 million, including 28,361 deaths.
The rising case rate in Illinois has prompted the General Assembly to cancel all of its scheduled session days next week, according to spokespeople for Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, although committees in both chambers will continue to meet remotely.
As of late Thursday night, IDPH reported 7,096 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, including 1,123 patients in intensive care units and 639 on ventilators. Those cases account for 38 percent of all staffed ICU beds available and 11.5 percent of all staffed ventilators.
IDPH continues to advise people that vaccines are the strongest defense against the virus. As of Thursday night, more than 19.5 million vaccinations had been administered. Over the past week, 294,687 doses were administered, for an average of 42,098 per day.
Currently, 73 percent of the state’s total population has received at least one dose of vaccine, while 64 percent are fully vaccinated and 40 percent have received a booster shot.
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.