COVID-19 hospitalizations up 12.5% this week, 45 more deaths
State health officials are reporting COVID-19 hospitalizations are above 900 again for the first time since March 1.
Illinois Department of Public Health records released Friday show 909 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals throughout the state. That translates to a 12.5% increase from a week ago.
Of those currently hospitalized, 87 are in ICU beds. That's 21 more than a week ago as well, records show.
IDPH officials also are reporting 40,026 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the past week, though public health officials acknowledge with the prevalence of at-home testing kits, it's likely new case figures are significantly underreported.
On Friday alone, IDPH officials reported 8,411 new cases, the most in a single day since Feb. 4.
"It's likely we're only seeing about a third of the new cases in the data because all the at-home antigen tests aren't being reported, which I don't think is a major problem and why you don't rely on just one metric," said Dr. Emily Landon, head of the University of Chicago's infectious disease prevention and control program.
Since the outset of the pandemic, Illinois has recorded 3,209,341 COVID-19 infections.
Illinois currently is averaging 5,718 new cases a day over the past week. That's up 30.6% from a week ago when the state was averaging 4,376 a day.
Landon noted initial indications showing hospitalizations growing at a slower pace than new cases averages is "good, but I don't think it's awesome."
Hospitalizations can lag new cases surges by two weeks or longer, and deaths can lag even more, she said.
"I don't think we're going to see the level of hospitalizations we did before with the original omicron variant, but there's still every reason to be vigilant," she said.
IDPH officials also reported 45 more deaths from the respiratory disease over the past week, which brings the state's death toll from COVID-19 to 33,705.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 69.1% of the state's roughly 12.7 million residents now are fully vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, 51.8% have received at least one booster dose.
In suburban Cook County hospitals, health officials are reporting there are 43.5 COVID-19 patients for every 100,000 unvaccinated residents. Among the vaccinated population, the rate is three patients for every 100,000 vaccinated residents.
"Hospitalizations remain low because nearly 2 million residents -- 86.4% -- of suburban Cook County have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which will keep you from experiencing serious illness if you have been exposed to the virus," said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and colead at the Cook County Department of Public Health.
All suburban counties are among the 23 counties in the state now listed as medium-risk community levels, meaning residents recorded more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, CDC records show.
No Illinois counties are at high-risk levels. However, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, just north of Lake County, is listed in that category with 236 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week and more than 10 new hospital admissions for every 100,000 during that time span.
"While case counts are rising, we would urge the public not to be alarmed, but to be aware of this trend and to take action by making sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations and booster shots," IDPH acting director Amaal Tokars said. "In addition, in areas that are rated at a medium community level, people who are elderly or immunocompromised are strongly advised to mask up in indoor places."