Illinois COVID Update Today: IL reports largest single-day spike in COVID cases in over a month, 11 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois on Friday reported 2,312 new COVID cases, the largest single-day increase since Feb. 26, and 11 related deaths.

There have been at least 3,080,436 total COVID cases in the state since the pandemic began, including at least 33,465 related deaths.

The seven-day nationwide test positivity rate is 2.3%. A week ago it was 1.7%.

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Within the last 24 hours, labs have reported that 106,376 new samples have been tested since the pandemic began, for a total of 57,787,719.

As of Thursday evening, 502 patients in Illinois are said to have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Of these, 62 patients were in intensive care and 24 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilation.

As of Wednesday, a total of 21,509,463 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois and 64.48% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 19,926.

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As employees return to their loop offices, anxious to keep COVID behind, the BA.2 variant continues to pose a threat as cases rise again.

Chicago is now averaging 304 new cases a day without anyone testing at home and not reporting the results. Last week, the city averaged 238 cases per day.

Nevertheless, Dr. Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Allison Arwady confident the city is prepared to avoid a big surge.

“With each passing day I’m more confident than in the short term we’ll avoid a big spike like we saw in the Omicron surge,” Arwady said.

Arwady is confident Chicago will remain at low risk with so many people infected with Omicron in January. She said that the original strain, BA.1, offers over 90% protection against the new variant.

Additionally, a surge in vaccinations is helping, particularly among groups that have been hesitant.

“The good news is that black, non-Latinx Chicagoans have been leading the way in primary and secondary vaccinations since early March,” Arwady added.

But, Arwady said, the city doesn’t do well with boosters. Less than half of eligible individuals have received one. Data has shown that the third injection produces a huge increase in antibodies.

As for a fourth dose, Arwady encourages older Chicagoans, high-risk individuals over 50, and immunocompromised individuals to get one.

“There’s no concern that one more dose will in any way make your immune system less susceptible to a future vaccine,” Arwady said.

Others, particularly vaccinated individuals who have recently had COVID, may wish to wait for a variant-specific vaccine. Moderna expects its new booster to be ready in a few months.

“We are ready to move it forward, we know this is the future,” said Dr. Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer at Moderna.

But Burton worries the country will weather the BA.2 wave first. Arwady expects case numbers to rise, but she hopes they won’t rise to the point where the city switches back to mask mandates.

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