CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials announced 2,727 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths Monday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 321,892 with 8,997 deaths, the IDPH reported.
As of Sunday night, 1,764 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 377 patients in the ICU and 153 on ventilators.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 47,579 specimens for a total of 6,355,261. The seven-day positivity rate from Oct. 5 to 11 is 4.3%.
After holding steady for a few weeks, the positivity test rate for COVID-19 infections in Illinois is once again on the rise. It was 3.3% last Sunday, 3.4% Monday and Tuesday, 3.5% on Wednesday, 3.7% Thursday, 3.8% Friday, 4% Saturday and 4.2% on Sunday.
But is this the beginning of a second wave of infection?
"The problem with the positive cases is...there is a reporting issue," said Dr. Michael Cailas, UIC School of Public Health. "A few weeks ago there was an incredible spike in the progression of the epidemic, and that was caused mainly because of this issue."
Cailas, a data analytics expert, believes the program may be two-fold: a lag in reporting coupled with a real increase driven by lack of information when it comes to reporting outbreaks in the community at large, particularly workplaces.
"If they know that next door them there are four or five positive cases and they might know these people personally, or by face, the whole narrative changes," he said. "People will be more willingly taking the preventative measures that are necessary."
And while Illinois continues to report a lower positivity rate than its neighbors, it has seen one of the largest proportional increases in the region.
Within the state itself, Region One, which sits alongside the Wisconsin border, has the highest seven-day positivity rate at 9.7%, while the largest increase goes to Region Five in the southeastern part of the state.
Locally, Region Eight, which includes Kane and DuPage counties, has seen a significant increase over the last week as well.
Public health officials last week blamed the current surge in part on, ".businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups and not using face coverings."
As of Friday, 26 counties remain at warning level. And while positivity rate and cases across the state have been rising, Regions 10 and 11 - which encompass Chicago and Cook County at large - do remain reasonably steady.
Monday's deaths include:
-Clay County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 100+
-Cook County: 1 female 50s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s
-Douglas County: 1 male 80s
-Fayette County: 1 male 70s
-Monroe County: 1 female 80s
-Peoria County: 1 male 70s
-Richland County: 1 male 80s
-Rock Island County: 1 female 60s
-Will County: 1 male 70s,
Meanwhile, two Western Illinois University housing officers have been recognized by an international organization for their efforts in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Jessica Butcher and Bridget McCormick were recognized by the "Heroes Program" of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.
They were among 27 campus professionals from across the nation who were honored. The program recognizes the leadership of campus professionals during times of significant challenge.
Butcher, assistant director of residence life, revamped training for complex directors, assistant complex directors and resident assistants for the fall semester, according to the university. She is often wearing personal protective gear for intake and transportation of students who have to go into quarantine and isolation after exposure to the highly contagious coronavirus.
McCormick is director of residential administration. She worked to readjust hundreds of room assignments for the fall semester as students chose whether to attend class in person or online. She is also doing COVID-19 case management and room assignments for students who test positive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.