Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 861 cases, highest since May, 7 deaths

Delta variant forces shift in Cook County vaccination strategy
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 861 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and seven related deaths Thursday, the highest daily case count the state has seen since May 28.

There have been 1,399,270 total COVID cases, including 23,350 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

Chicago COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by zip code

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from July 8-15 is at 2.3%.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 41,166 specimens for a total of 26,259,477 since the pandemic began.

As of Wednesday night, 509 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 110 patients were in the ICU and 35 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

According to IDPH data, the southwestern regions of the state are seeing the highest spike. In the span of 30 days, Region 3 climbed from 1% to 5%; Region 4 to almost 8%; and Region 5 saw a 4-percentage point increase in positivity rates.

Missouri, Arkansas added back on Chicago Travel Advisory amid rise in COVID-19 cases

A total of 12,895,755 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 21,813. There were 21,788 vaccines administered in Illinois Wednesday.

Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

Concerns over a surge in the delta variant are forcing some changes in Cook County, including a shift in the vaccination strategy.

Cook County will be closing its three remaining mass vaccination sites next week since demand has trickled down to a few appointments a day.

"In the weeks ahead, we will take a more targeted approach to reach the residents directly in their communities," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

WATCH: Cook Co. officials give update on COVID delta variant

EMBED More News Videos

While Illinois' northern regions have more protection because of higher vaccination rates, Dr. Ngozi Ezike is warning residents that no one is out of the woods.

Cook County's shift of vaccine strategy to hyper local will focus specifically on the south suburbs, where a few have the lowest vaccinations rates in the entire Chicago metropolitan area.

Less than 20% of Dixmoor and Ford Heights residents have received only one dose, and less than 30% in Riverdale, Sauk Village and Burnham.

"If your community is below 50% vaccination rates you are going to have a greater chance of the delta variant," said Israel Rocha, Cook County Health.

The more contagious delta variant has driven higher rates and hospitalizations statewide. Cook County officials say one of the biggest obstacles getting more people vaccinated are false rumors being circulated on social media.

McKinley Nelson, 24, founder of the anti-violence group Project Swish, is helping the county through a public service campaign to convince people in his age group to get the shot.

"It's my job with my peers to let them know that everything is fine, I've been vaccinated I feel fine," Nelson said.

Marco Solis, 15, received his first dose Thursday. He waited until he was convinced the vaccine was safe.

"Most my family started getting it and they looked fine so I decided to get the vaccine," he said.

To get even more people vaccinated, Cook Co. Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she is strongly considering mandating the vaccine for all Cook County Health workers.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.