CHICAGO — Ninety-eight Illinois residents died from coronavirus in the past day, officials said.
The most recent victims included 70 people from Cook County, including one man in his 30s and two men in their 40s.
That’s on top of 187 COVID-19 deaths reported over the weekend.
The toll adds on to recent heavy losses: Last week was the second-deadliest of the pandemic for Illinois, with at least 1,060 Illinoisans dead from COVID-19. The week before saw a record-breaking 1,079 Illinoisans reported dead from COVID-19, and 953 people died the week before that, making it the third-deadliest week.
At least 15,299 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 1,228 deaths are probably related, according to the state.
The state also reported 4,699 cases over the past day, as well as 13,565 over the weekend. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 905,069.
There is growing hope as the spread has slowed in Illinois, though new cases and positivity rates remain high. Last week also saw the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in Chicago and across the state. But officials have cautioned it will be months before vaccines are widely available.
That means people are still be at risk and will have to take precautions, like staying socially distant and wearing a mask, for much of 2021, officials have said.
“This is a time where we still have a lot of COVID in Chicago,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Monday morning livestream. There is a “high risk in terms of gathering. If you can avoid going out — unless it’s for work or for school or for really essential reasons — please do.”
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, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, has said.
“I definitely look forward to the day when the vaccine is widely available to every single person in the state,” Ezike said last week. “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.”
Every region in Illinois remains under Tier 3 restrictions. 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.
In Chicago, 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 7.5 percent Monday with 86,454 tests reported. It was at 7.8 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 9.3 percent Monday. It was at 9.6 percent Sunday.
As of Sunday night, 4,460 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 981 people in the ICU and 546 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 25 deaths and 1,013 confirmed cases were reported since Sunday. There have been at least 3,945 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 194,915 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of 18 deaths per day, down from an average of 24 deaths per day the week prior.
An average of 1,331 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 19 percent decrease from the previous week.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 11.5 percent, down from 12.3 percent the week before.
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