After showing signs of an increase in mid-October, the number of new daily COVID cases in Illinois has seemingly leveled off in recent days, and has even decreased over the last week.
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, cases began to rise in mid-October, with more than 2,000 new cases reported daily, but that number has since leveled off.
As of Wednesday, the state is averaging 1,952 new cases per day, representing a slight decrease over the last week.
The state is averaging nine COVID fatalities per day, according to the latest IDPH data.
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Overall, there have been more than 3.8 million cases of COVID reported in the state since the pandemic began. Officials say that there have been 35,269 deaths associated with the virus, with another 4,763 fatalities currently classified as “probable” COVID deaths.
Even with cases remaining largely steady in the state, several counties have seen their counts go high enough that the CDC considers them to be at a “high transmission level” of the virus. Those include Stephenson and Ogle counties in northern Illinois, Pike County in far western Illinois, and Ford and Vermillion counties in eastern Illinois.
Residents in those five counties are being advised to wear masks in indoor spaces due to the higher transmission level of the virus.
Nationally, the BA.5 variant is still the dominant strain in the U.S., according to CDC estimates, but it now makes up less than 50% of estimated cases. BQ.1 is now at 14% and BQ.1.1 is at 13.1%. Both are descendants of BA.5.
BA.4.6., a descendant of BA.4, is responsible for nearly 10% of cases.
In the Midwest, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, BA.5 is still dominant at 54.7%, while BQ.1 is responsible for an estimated 10.3% of cases. BQ.1.1 is responsible for 13.1%.
Illinois saw a bump in COVID vaccinations when new bivalent booster shots were approved by the CDC and FDA, but that number has since declined slightly. In total, nearly 24.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois, with approximately 74.5% of the state’s residents age 5 and older now fully vaccinated against the virus.
The state is averaging 28,771 new vaccine doses administered per day.
Public health officials have expressed concerns about a potential increase in cases as new variants start to circulate in the U.S. Other respiratory illnesses, including RSV, have also seen case numbers go up sharply in recent weeks, with officials urging residents to get their COVID and flu vaccines as soon as possible.