Hospitals begin worst surge yet as Illinois hits 500,000 cases, state positivity 12.0%

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CHICAGO – Hospitalizations across Illinois are near the worst levels seen during the spring lockdown.

“We’re all looking, hopefully, to a better tomorrow, even as public health experts warn of new waves of the virus as more people spend time inside in the months to come,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said during a Tuesday afternoon briefing on COVID-19. “We all want this to be over, but we need to gird ourselves for winter because it’s not over yet.”

Statewide rolling seven-day positivity Tuesday was at 12.0%.

“We have potentially months of the fight ahead of us,” Pritzker said, citing hope in data provided by Pfizer’s announcement on Monday. “The news yesterday was potentially a very good sign of things to come.”

Pritzker’s conference Tuesday focused primarily on hospitalization across Illinois that continues on a trajectory upwards. On Tuesday, Illinois was averaging over 4,200 residents with COVID-19 in hospitals, nearing a high of 4,822 residents seen in spring. 

“Across the state, the majority of our regions are seeing far higher rates of hospitalizations for COVID-19 than they ever did last spring,” Pritzker warned residents. “Outside of Cook and the collar counties, much of Illinois’ communities are experiencing the worst surge they’ve seen yet.”

The announcement came on a day when Illinois reported a new record high in cases with 12,623 cases and 100,000 tests ran in the past 24-hours, a milestone for Illinois.  With the new cases, Illinois surpassed 500,000 cases in the pandemic which now stands at 511,183 cases.

“Region 6, east-central Illinois, has now surpassed 3.5x its spring hospitalization rate. Even where things are not as awful, things are still bad. Region 4, the metro-east, and Region 7, Will and Kankakee counties, are running just above the worst that they saw in the spring, with no sign of slowing.” Pritzker warned Tuesday. “In short, we’re now just hundreds short of our worst COVID hospitalization numbers last spring, after adding more than 2,000 to that average since just October the 1st.”

Tuesday afternoon, Region 7 was at 17.5% on the rolling weekly chart, with Kankakee and Will counties each reporting the same identical weekly rating for the first time in the pandemic. Numbers for Kankakee are not yet available for Tuesday. Monday, Kankakee County Health Department announced 504 new cases since Saturday, including 48 hospitalized locally.

Earlier in the day, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the death of a man in his 30s from Will County, marking one of the youngest deaths locally from the virus.

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