Amid comments by top U.S. health officials that the COVID-19 pandemic is “decelerating,” Illinois is still seeing more than 3,000 new cases of the virus a day, according to the state’s latest data.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state saw 3,434 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. That brings the state’s average of daily COVID cases down slightly, with 3,070 new cases per day according to officials.
Even with the slight decline, the number is still up nearly 20% from a week ago, according to IDPH data.
The state reported eight additional COVID-related fatalities in the last 24 hours.
Hospitalizations are also up 20% in the state over the last week, with 697 patients in Illinois hospitals currently testing positive for the virus. Of those, 71 are in intensive care unit beds, officials say.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has expressed cautious optimism about the status of the pandemic recently, saying that the United States is “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase” of COVID.
“We’ve now decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press. “By no means does that mean the pandemic is over, (but) we are in a different moment in the pandemic.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that he “hopes and prays” that Fauci is accurate in his assessments, but says that the state is continuing to guard against surges in the virus.
“My view is that we’re being vigilant,” he said. “We’re listening to the CDC about that, and the White House, and also keeping our own counsel about the cases and hospitalizations.”
Fauci says that there are several keys to keeping the United States on the right track, including getting more residents vaccinated, figuring out new booster strategies to combat variants, and to increase the availability of antiviral treatments that can improve health outcomes for at-risk patients.
Earlier this month the state of Illinois saw a dramatic rise in the number of vaccine doses being administered, but that trend has since begun to level off, with the state averaging 16,376 vaccinations per day over the last week.
In all, 81.3% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, while 72.9% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.
Just under 4.4 million booster doses have been administered in the state, officials said.