CHICAGO — Illinois saw another 103 people killed by coronavirus during the past day.
The most recent victims include 88 people from Cook County, including a man in his 20s.
That’s on top of 242 COVID-19 deaths reported over the weekend. Saturday saw 127 deaths, and 115 more were reported Sunday, according to state data. Fifty-nine of the weekend’s victims were from Cook County, including two men and a woman in their 20s and a man in his 30s.
The toll adds on to recent heavy losses: Last week saw a record-breaking 1,079 Illinoisans reported dead from COVID-19. The week before saw 953 victims, making it the second-deadliest of the pandemic for Illinois.
At least 14,394 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 1,061 deaths are probably related, according to the state.
The state also reported 7,214 cases in the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 856,118.
Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, have urged people to keep taking safety measures as the nation begins to look ahead to a vaccine.
The city’s and state’s vaccination campaigns will begin Tuesday. They’ll first focus on health care workers and people living and working in long-term care facilities. It will be months before vaccines are available to the general public.
“Our destination is clear, but the road ahead will be long,” Pritzker said at a Monday news conference. “… We are seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic.”
In the meantime, people should keep wearing a mask, staying socially distant and washing their hands frequently, experts have said. People also should celebrate their holidays virtually and not see people outside their household, Ezike has said.
“I definitely look forward to the day when the vaccine is widely available to every single person in the state,” Ezike said Monday. “Until that time, we still need to continue with our masking, avoiding crowds, watching our distance and washing hands. Let’s work to protect and not infect those that we love and those around us.”
Officials expect there could be another spike in cases — and, later, deaths — due to people gathering for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Chicago is seeing its positivity rate and daily new cases climb, and that’s “clearly related to Thanksgiving,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said.
Because of that, every region in Illinois will remain under Tier 3 restrictions for at least several more weeks, Pritzker has said. The rules close museums, casinos and theaters; cut capacity at stores; stop indoor sports and put stricter rules in place at gyms and salons, among other things.
Chicago is also under a stay at home advisory. People are being asked to stay home as much as possible, leaving only for essential things like grocery shopping; to work from home if possible; to stop gathering with anyone outside their household; and to stop traveling.
The surge in new cases in Chicago — and across Illinois — can only partially be explained by increased testing; in reality, there are more cases because coronavirus is spreading so much, officials have said. There’s evidence of that in the way positivity rates and COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations rose rapidly and have stayed high.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity fell to 8.7 percent Monday with 92,256 tests reported. It was at 9.1 percent Sunday. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.
Illinois’ seven-day test positivity, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell to 10.3 percent Monday. It was at 10.6 percent Sunday.
As of Sunday night, 4,951 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 1,070 people in the ICU and 621 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 43 deaths and 1,691 confirmed cases were reported since Sunday. There have been at least 3,805 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 185,883 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of 22 deaths per day, up from an average of 19 deaths per day the week prior.
An average of 1,639 confirmed cases are being reported per day, an 18 percent increase from the prior week.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 12.7 percent, down from 13.1 percent the week before.
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