Public health officials on Saturday announced 3,194 new COVID-19 cases, lowering Illinois’ testing positivity rate to 4.1% and offering a potential sign of optimism that the state is easing down from its latest surge in infections.
The positivity rate, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, is still up sharply compared to the all-time low of 2.1% the state reached last month, while an average of more than 3,200 residents have tested positive each day over the past week — nearly double Illinois’ case rate in early March.
But the statewide positivity rate has now fallen or held steady for five consecutive days after a full month of troubling upticks.
Chicago’s regional positivity rate has fallen slightly over the past few days to 5.6%, and it’s dipped to 5.5% in suburban Cook County.
Despite any incremental progress, it’s still “a critical time in this pandemic,” according to Dr. Kiran Joshi, senior medical officer and co-leader of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
“We’re very concerned about the potential for another surge,” Joshi said at a vaccination event hosted by the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove. “There is some hope in that we’ve seen cases level off over the last week, but I do want to point out that this rise in cases has been fueled by individuals who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, so we urge young people in particular to go out and get vaccinated, continue to wear your mask, to wash your hands, to keep your distance and to be careful with crowds.”
The state reported its fourth most productive vaccination day yet with 160,014 doses administered Friday. Nearly 8 million shots have gone into arms overall, with about 3.3 million residents fully vaccinated — nearly 26% of the population.
COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by day
Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health
Officials also said 23 more residents have died with the virus, including 12 Cook County residents. The state’s death toll is up to 21,653 among about 1.3 million residents who have tested positive over the past year.
All Illinois residents 16 and older are eligible for shots outside Chicago. City providers will expand to full eligibility starting Monday.
Illinois residents can also get shots at a federally run site in Gary, Indiana, which has thousands of appointments available through next week.
For help finding a vaccine appointment in-state, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.