Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 676 cases, 8 deaths

IDPH flags DuPage County for rising COVID hospitalizations, health department spokeswoman says

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, July 17, 2021
DuPage County red-flagged by IDPH for rising COVID-19 hospitalizations
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DuPage County is now under a red flag warning as the area's hospitalization rate continues to climb.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 676 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and eight related deaths Friday.

There have been 1,399,946 total COVID cases, including 23,357 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 9-15 is at 2.3%.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 33,502 specimens for a total of 26,292,979 since the pandemic began.

As of Thursday night, 476 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 94 patients were in the ICU and 28 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

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A total of 12,917,362 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Thursday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 21,607. There were 21,607 vaccines administered in Illinois Thursday.

13 IL counties at 'warning level' for COVID

The rising metrics statewide are being driven in large part by the worsening situation downstate, according to officials.

Thirteen counties, mostly in western and southern Illinois, are now at a "warning level" for COVID. That means people living there are facing an increased risk.

All of those counties have lower vaccination rates, and two of them have less than 30% of their populations fully vaccinated.

Friday, the head of the CDC said those who haven't gotten the shot are fueling the increases we're seeing nationwide.

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

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

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.

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.

To get even more people vaccinated, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she is strongly considering mandating the vaccine for all Cook County Health workers.

DuPage County red-flagged by IDPH for rising COVID-19 hospitalizations

DuPage County is now under a red flag warning as the area's hospitalization rate continues to climb.

That rate has climbed seven of the last 10 days, according to officials, triggering the warning from the state.

"The virus will always win if we don't protect ourselves adequately," said Karen Ayala, executive director at the DuPage County Health Department.

In simpler terms, Ayala said that means get vaccinated.

Despite being the Illinois county with the highest vaccination rate, COVID is making more people sicker.

More than 99% of COVID deaths and hospitalizations right now are in the unvaccinated population, which prompted the red flag as an early warning sign, officials said.

Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

"We very much want to get to the other side of this pandemic and not go backwards," Ayala said.

That means trying to vaccinate the more than 100,000 eligible DuPage County residents, who officials said still have not gotten their shots.

Like Cook County, DuPage County will soon shut down its mostly empty mass vaccination site.

After Saturday, they will be shifting more resources to localized options, like a van that can meet people where they live and work.

"We need to make it much more convenient, much more accessible," Ayala said.

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Ayala suspects the Delta variant's rapid spread and unvaccinated people not masking are partially to blame for the recent spikes.

Still, in downtown Wheaton, there are differing views on what to do.

"I do not believe in the vaccination and I just do not, I'd rather just go with the flow and take my chances in what I believe in," said Naperville resident Pamela Cardelli.

"I feel sorry for the people who are not decided to get their vaccinations because they put themselves at risk," said Aurora resident Bob Gross.