Illinois reports nearly 80% increase in COVID-19 cases; health officials urge vaccinations

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SPRINGFIELD — New COVID-19 cases rose about 80% statewide over the past week compared with the previous seven-day period.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,983 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Friday compared with the weeklong total of 4,449 cases reported July 16.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients also are climbing statewide, with 670 people hospitalized as of Friday. Newly reported deaths of people with coronavirus disease haven’t risen in recent weeks. Deaths often don’t occur for weeks or even months after COVID-19 infections.

IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said the trend being seen in Illinois is taking place nationwide.

“While the number of vaccines administered are not as high as when the vaccine first became readily available, we are seeing a steady level of uptake,” she said. “However, we still need more people to get vaccinated.

“The majority of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are among the unvaccinated. COVID-19 has transformed into a pandemic among the unvaccinated,” she said. “People should not depend on others being vaccinated to be protected. People need to do their part and get vaccinated to help end this pandemic and protect those who are not older enough to be vaccinated or who have compromised immune systems that are unable to build a robust response to the vaccine. People who are unsure about being vaccinated should talk with a health-care provider and get the facts about vaccination.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants is to get vaccinated.

“These vaccines work to prevent serious illness,” Pritzker said Thursday at an appearance in Chicago. “Ninety-nine percent of people who are dying in hospitals with COVID today in the state of Illinois are unvaccinated people, so please, everyone, get vaccinated.”

There have been 23,401 confirmed deaths of Illinoisans with COVID-19 since the global pandemic reached Illinois in spring 2020. There were 47 deaths over the last week.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, 159 deaths of Illinoisans with COVID-19 represented “breakthrough” cases, or cases in which the people who died had been fully vaccinated. Those deaths represent 2.3% of all COVID-19 deaths of Illinoisans since Jan. 1, according to IDPH.

Half of the state’s 12 million residents, and 56% of Illinoisans 12 and older — the age group eligible for COVID-19 vaccines — have been fully vaccinated, according to IDPH.

More than 71% of people 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, but two doses are required with two of the three available brands of vaccine to achieve full effectiveness.

In Sangamon County, almost 50% of the population is fully vaccinated, but vaccination levels in some Central Illinois counties are much lower, including less than 30% in Pike County, 34.5% in Christian County and 38.7% in Montgomery County.

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health on Friday reported its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases — 37 — since mid-May.

New cases for the past seven days totaled 99 among Sangamon County residents, compared with 98 during the previous seven-day period. Seven-day averages for new cases have been on the increase among Sangamon residents since mid-June.

Nine Sangamon County residents with COVID-19 remain hospitalized. No new positive cases among Menard County were reported.

Pritzker said this week that state officials are “constantly monitoring” COVID-19 trends, but he isn’t planning to reimpose a statewide mask mandate, at least not yet.

Pritzker said shutting down fall sports for school children is “not something we’re immediately looking at doing.”

He said wearing a mask in public, especially for people who are unvaccinated and for anyone in crowded conditions, is another way to prevent infection and the spread of COVID-19.

“No one should feel shame for wearing a mask,” the governor said. “People need to be aware that we are not past this pandemic. It is with us.”

Pritzker said he thinks the vaccine lottery called All In For The Win, is leading to more vaccinations. The pace of vaccinations overall, however, has slowed significantly throughout the state since the high point in March and April.

Arnold said all Illinoisans who have won money and scholarships so far in the vaccine lottery have decided to remain anonymous, which is allowed under lottery rules.

More than 174,000 vaccine shots were given on April 9, for example, compared with a daily average of between 16,000 and 44,000 vaccinations so far in July.

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday among state workers or customers associated with the Klein & Mason Driver Services facility at 316 N. Klein St. in Springfield.

Health officials say the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge and accounts for an estimated 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases.


The facility was closed Thursday for two weeks after one of the workers there tested positive for COVID-19.

The office worker who tested positive is quarantining, as are about a dozen other workers at the facility who had contact with the infected worker, according to SOS spokesman Dave Druker.

All of the staff members at the office are being tested for COVID-19, Druker said. Officials also are contacting a dozen members of the public who visited the facility recently and may need to be tested or quarantine, he said.

For customers who decide to visit a driver services facility, masks are required for road exams. Springfield-area drivers can visit the Dirksen Driver Services facility at 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway in Springfield.

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July 24, 2021 at 04:03PM

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