State COVID-19 positivity rates remain on the rise

By Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks at the daily COVID-19 media briefing on Thursday, April 2. (WGN Tv Facebook LIVE)

SPRINGFIELD – COVID-19 test positivity rates and hospitalizations continue to increase in Illinois as virus-related deaths in the state surpassed 9,000 Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“More than 9,000 Illinoisans — our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, family, friends, and neighbors — have had their lives cut short by COVID-19, leaving tens of thousands more to grieve loved ones lost too soon,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release. “As we pause today to mourn these individual and collective losses, may we find strength in the tools we have to protect our communities: wearing a mask, watching our distance, and respecting public health and each other. My heart breaks for all those who have lost a loved one in this battle we never asked to fight — may their memories be for a blessing.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 2,852 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among 55,993 results reported over the previous 24 hours. That made for a one-day positivity rate of 5.1 percent, driving the seven-day rolling average positivity rate to 4.5 percent — the ninth straight day of increases for that metric.

That number last hit 4.5 percent on Sept. 2, and, prior to that, on June 8.

Hospitalizations remain on the uptick as well, with 1,848 people hospitalized for COVID-19 at the end of Monday, Oct. 12. That number, which was over 5,000 at its April height, was the highest recorded since June 18.

Intensive care unit bed usage also increased to 406 beds used by COVID-19 patients, continuing an upward trend over the past few weeks. That number peaked at over 1,200 in April and fell to the low 300s in July and August.

There were 160 ventilators in use by the end of Monday, which was off the lows of August when it dropped below 120 at times.

“After 9 months of battling this virus and hearing the updates each day, many of us forget that the hospitalizations and deaths are more than just numbers,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “They are our family, friends, and loved ones who have been directly impacted by COVID-19, which continues to spread. You can help slow the spread and reduce the number of people who become sick with COVID-19 by wearing your mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance.”

The 29 virus-related deaths announced Tuesday came in a person in their 40s, four in their 50s, three in their 60s, seven in their 70s and the rest 80 and older.

That brought the virus casualty count to 9,026 among 324,743 confirmed cases. More than 6.4 million tests have been completed in the state.

Despite increased mitigations, including the closing of bars and restaurants to indoor drinking and dining, the positivity rate in Region 1 of the state’s coronavirus plan sat at 9.6 percent as of Oct. 10, the latest day data were available. The region will need to see the rate decrease to 6.5 percent or lower for three straight days to have the mitigations lifted.

Region 5 in southern Illinois hit 8 percent as of Oct. 10 as well. Two more days above that number and the region would be due for the same bar and restaurant restrictions and capacity limits currently enacted in Region 1.

While Region 6, which includes east-central Illinois, had a positivity rate of 2.1 percent as of Oct. 10, the number rose to 7.7 percent with Champaign County numbers excluded. The state is measuring the region without the Champaign County numbers, which includes saliva testing at University of Illinois that has driven the positivity rate in the county below one percent.

If the positivity rate excluding Champaign County increases past 8 percent for three days, the whole region, including Champaign County, could see increased mitigations.

Other regions ranged from 4.7 to 6.6 percent.


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