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Illinoisí coronavirus positivity rate remains at a two-month high
Illinois is seeing a troubling upward trend in its pandemic numbers that could lead officials to tighten restrictions on businesses once again.

Sunday, April 04, 2021
Chicago Sun-Times
by Madeline Kenney

Illinois‚€™ coronavirus positivity rate remained at a two-month high Sunday, continuing a troubling upward trend that could lead officials to tighten restrictions on businesses once again.

State health officials reported 2,449 new and probable COVID-19 cases that were detected among 64,116 tests processed in the last day. That kept the state‚€™s seven-day positivity rate for a second day at 3.8%, the highest it‚€™s been since Feb. 2.

In March, that figure, which experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading, dropped to the lowest since summer. In fact, the state‚€™s seven-day positivity rate remained below 3% for nearly six weeks, from Feb. 15 to March 27.

Over the last week, though, that figure has been on a gradual rise.

While the state‚€™s overall positivity rate remains well below the peak levels seen last fall, suburban Cook County and Chicago‚€™s test positivity rates have climbed steadily and are creeping toward the 8% benchmark that could result in a scaling back of recently expanded indoor business capacity limits.

The Chicagoland area‚€™s databases aren‚€™t updated on weekends. But as of Friday, both suburban Cook County and Chicago had a test positivity rate of 5%. For Chicago, that‚€™s up more than a full percentage point from the previous week, when that figure checked in at 3.7% March 26.

Officials warned Saturday that tighter coronavirus restrictions could soon be in store for businesses in suburban Cook County if this upward trend continues.

‚€úWe may very well have to clamp down within a matter of days,‚€Ě said Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-lead and senior medical officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, who partially blamed the uptick on COVID fatigue. ‚€úI‚€™m not promising that one way or the other. We need to evaluate exactly what kinds of activities and movements do we think are really pushing this surge.‚€Ě

Meanwhile, the state has also seen an uptick in coronavirus hospitalizations over the last few weeks. As of Saturday night, 1,491 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. Of those, 336 were in intensive care units and 143 were on ventilators, officials said.

Officials on Sunday also reported 14 deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the state‚€™s total pandemic death toll to 21,373.

In total, Illinois has administered 6,290,822 vaccine doses since December, including 102,215 on Saturday, officials said. The state‚€™s doled out an overage of 108,914 shots per day over the last week.



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