Pritzker 'cautiously optimistic' about nearly 10% drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations

  • Illinois hospitalizations have declined nearly 10% over the past week, a sign state health officials said indicates the recent surge of COVID-19 has peaked.

    Illinois hospitalizations have declined nearly 10% over the past week, a sign state health officials said indicates the recent surge of COVID-19 has peaked. Associated Press File Photo/November 2020

Updated 1/20/2022 7:41 AM

COVID-19 hospitalizations continued their weeklong decline Wednesday, now down 9.8% from a week ago.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the steady drop in patients over the past week a "welcome change" from the "precipitous increases" in hospitalizations Illinois medical personnel saw over the previous seven weeks.


"I am cautiously optimistic about this decline," Pritzker said, "but there are an awful lot of people still battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois."

In fact, Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported Wednesday that hospitals were treating 6,507 COVID-19 patients statewide.

That's still more than hospitals saw during the winter 2020 surge, IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike pointed out.

"The good news is the trend is downward," she said. "The sheer volume, however, still is a problem."

Of those currently hospitalized, 1,085 are in intensive care. That's down 4.1% from a week ago, IDPH figures show.

Ezike said hospitalizations, not new cases, are the key metric for determining changes to mitigation efforts like indoor masking and capacity restrictions.

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"I am absolutely moving away from the cases because we know that that's not even the full story given all the home tests and all the positives that are happening at home that are not recorded," Ezike said. "But you can't hide hospitalizations. That is definitely a clear signal of the direction we're moving in."

IDPH officials also reported 160 more COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, the most recorded in a single day in more than a year.

That brings the state's death toll from COVID-19 to 29,510.

Another 26,491 new cases were diagnosed as well, which means 2,709,474 infections have been diagnosed in Illinois since the outset of the pandemic.

The state's seven-day case positivity rate is at 12%, down slightly from the prior day. Case positivity is the percentage of tests that result in a new case, and a seven-day average is used to account for any anomalies in the daily reporting of those figures.

Meanwhile, IDPH is also reporting 55,580 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered statewide.

Vaccine providers in Illinois have administered 20,110,501 vaccine doses since they became available.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 65.3% of Illinois' 12.7 million residents are fully vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, 44.4% have received a booster dose.

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