As Illinois begins to move past a peak in an omicron-driven surge of COVID cases, political leaders and health care workers are reminding the public to keep their guard up in an effort to continue that trend.
Both Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during press availabilities on Wednesday that the state has begun to move past the omicron peak.
The state is now averaging 26,640 cases per day, an 18.3% decrease from a peak in cases that was hit on Jan. 16. Hospitalizations are also down nearly 12% in the last week, with 6,507 patients currently hospitalized with COVID in Illinois.
The state is also averaging approximately 47,000 new COVID vaccine doses per day in the last week, and while health care workers and state officials say that there is reason for cautious optimism, they are also warning that it is too early to stand down on key practices and mitigations.
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“I want to be clear, I am cautiously optimistic, but there are an awful lot of people battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois,” Pritzker said.
Both Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that it is still far too early to roll back various COVID restrictions, including mask mandates and the city of Chicago’s vaccine mandate, and said they will continue to monitor data to determine when it will be safe to do so.
In the meantime, physicians are still warning residents to wear masks, and more importantly, to get vaccinated against COVID.
“It’s really important over these next few weeks and months that we continue to work hard on getting folks vaccinated, getting folks tested, continuing to wear our masks, because there is a long way to come down,” Arwady said. “However, I’m really pleased to have seen this turnaround.”