CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois on Wednesday reported a record 32,279 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, the largest number ever reported in the state in a single day, as hospitalizations from the virus also set a record for the third day in a row.
The previous record for daily infections was the 31,461 new cases reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday.
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Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported 2,295,445 total cases of COVID-19, including 28,156 deaths.
The state’s average daily case rate is up to 25,183 new cases a day, the highest average since the pandemic started. The average number of daily infections has nearly tripled over the past month in Illinois.
The state’s seven-day average case-positivity rate is up to 14.2%, the highest it has been in more than a year since it hit 13.7% on November 12, 2020, below the height of the second wave of the pandemic.
Hospital admissions across the country also continue to rise, with 6,842 virus patients being treated at Illinois hospitals from Tuesday night, the third day in a row, Illinois has set a new record for hospital admissions. COVID-19 hospital admissions in Illinois have increased 150% over the past month.
Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike that they were concerned about the strain that the latest wave of pandemic has placed on hospital staff.
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“Our hospitals are still completely overwhelmed,” Ezike said Monday afternoon.
Ezike also warned that while the new Omicron variant of the virus may not cause as serious illness as previous strains, it does not mean that fewer people are hospitalized than during earlier stages of the pandemic because “there are just so many more people with COVID, period. “
As of Tuesday night, only 17% of the state’s hospital beds were open, including only 9% of the state’s intensive care units, according to IDPH.
Governor JB Pritzker said in some regions of the state that ICU beds “are frighteningly limited,” with only single-digit numbers available in some parts of Illinois.
“It’s frustrating and tragic that, two years into the pandemic, with several widely available and free life-saving vaccines, we are once again in this terrible situation,” Pritzker said Monday afternoon.
Last week, the governor called on hospitals to postpone non-emergency operations to use existing staff to expand the capacity of the intensive care unit.
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Pritzker and Ezike pleaded with people who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to get their shots to avoid further stressing the state hospital system.
“They are under tremendous load, and I do not know how much more they can withstand. We must all find ways to support them in every possible way, ”Pritzker said. “All Illinois residents need to focus on keeping each other safe. Where we go as a state is a matter of each of us standing up. We can each be vaccinated, boosted and wear our mask when we are. in space with other people, and I ask everyone to do their part. “