The number of new coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois continued to decline Sunday, with just 943 new cases reported, along with 24 additional deaths.
The state has now crossed an important vaccination threshold, with more than five million residents now fully vaccinated against the virus.
As cases continue to decline, more services are beginning to resume, with Amtrak announcing that its Illinois train lines will resume regular service.
Here are the latest COVID headlines from around the state.
More Than 7,800 COVID Cases in Illinois Linked to Variant Coronavirus Strains
Illinois health officials say that nearly 7,800 coronavirus cases have been linked to various variants of the virus, including more than 5,100 cases involving a more-contagious strain of the virus that originated in the United Kingdom.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has identified 5,188 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus during the pandemic. That variant, which has been shown in studies to spread more rapidly than other strains, was first identified in Dec. 2020 in the United States, and was originally detected in the UK.
While the UK strain is the primary variant currently identified in Illinois, the P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil, is becoming more prevalent as well. According to officials, 1,967 COVID cases are tied to the variant, which was first detected in the United States in January.
Officials say that approximately 504 cases of coronavirus have been tied to the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants of the virus, which is believed to have originated in California last year. Another 94 cases are linked to the B.1.351 variant, which is believed to have originated in South Africa in Oct. 2020 and was first detected in the U.S. in January.
943 New COVID Cases, 24 Additional Deaths, 60K Vaccinations
Health officials in Illinois reported 943 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with 24 additional deaths and more than 60,000 vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours.
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Sunday’s new case numbers bring the state to 1,375,508 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began last year.
The 24 additional deaths reported Sunday bring the state to 22,623 fatalities related to the virus, with another 2,378 deaths currently classified as “probable” COVDI-19 fatalities.
State officials say that 60,746 new COVID vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, bringing the state’s average number of daily vaccinations to 75,546 over the last week.
According to officials, more than five million Illinois residents are now fully vaccinated, representing approximately 39.79% of the state’s population.
Amtrak Resuming Full Rail Service Across Illinois
Amtrak is resuming full passenger rail service across Illinois as the number of COVID-19 cases are falling.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week that the full long-distance interstate schedule restores service on four state-sponsored lines.
Service on the Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago resumes on Sunday. Routes connecting Chicago and Quincy, Chicago and Carbondale and Chicago and St. Louis will operate at full capacity by the middle of July. Tickets for travel on those lines can be reserved now.
Fake Vaccine Cards: Warnings Issued as CDC Guidelines Change
With many wondering whether or not COVID vaccine cards will be required as proof of vaccination now that masking guidelines have changed, concerns over fake vaccine cards are rising.
Searches for the fraudulent cards have risen since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its masking guidance to allow fully vaccinated individuals to go maskless in most settings. Illinois and Chicago also adjusted their mandates accordingly this week.
Searches for "fake vaccine card" spiked last week in Illinois following the CDC's announcement and again soared following Illinois' masking update, according to Google Trends.