Region 1

Illinois' Top Doctor to Address Rising COVID Cases in Region 1

NOTE: Watch the press conference live in the player above beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will address a rise in COVID cases in one particular health care region Friday.

Ezike is scheduled to speak in a virtual press conference alongside local representatives beginning at 9:30 a.m. "to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Northern Illinois Rockford Region," also known as Region 1.

The region serves several northern Illinois counties, including Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties.

According to the state's health department, the current rate of COVID-19 cases in Region 1 "is concerning and effects not only healthcare systems, but long term care facilities, schools, local businesses, and the arts and entertainment sector."

As of Wednesday, state data showed the region had a 9.2% positivity rate as hospitalizations continue to steadily climb and the number of available ICU beds drop.

Officials in Winnebago County last week issued a disaster proclamation amid increasing numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the area.

In a statement, Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli said his experience being hospitalized for COVID compelled him to make the decision.

“My experience being hospitalized with COVID identified a need for not only prevention, but intervention, and I want to advocate for additional treatment options to be readily available to Winnebago County residents,” he said in a statement.

Expanded access to treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and other types of in-person and virtual care will also be given to individuals who have tested positive for the virus, according to the release.

As cases escalate around the state, Winnebago County has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID cases in recent weeks.

The rise in cases is also being seen statewide.

Illinois on Thursday reported nearly 12,000 new cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, the largest single-day increase in new cases in more than a year.

According to the latest figures from IDPH, the state recorded 11,858 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 during that time.

That number is the largest the state has seen in a single day since Dec. 1, 2020, when 12,542 new cases were reported to state health agencies.

The previous high watermark for 2021 had been set just two weeks ago, when 11,524 new cases were reported on Dec. 2.

The state also hit another inauspicious milestone on Thursday, as it is now averaging more than 8,000 new cases of the virus per day over the last week. That marks the first time the state has seen that number of new cases since Dec. 15, 2020, according to IDPH data.

It also comes as the state prepares for possible spread of the omicron variant after two confirmed cases were identified. The cases have so far been reported in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

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