There have been at least 3,200,930 total COVID cases as of Thursday, including at least 33,698 related deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The video in the player above is from a previous report.
As of Wednesday night, 880 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 85 patients were in the ICU, and 21 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. IDPH said 19% of ICU beds are available.
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IDPH officials reported a seven-day case average of 309 per-100,000 people.
A total of 22,081,962 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday, and 64.80% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 11,885.
Doctors urge focus on COVID and chronic diseases
Angela Mitchell said she has never felt better, but, it took a long time for the 61-year-old to bounce back from COVID during the summer of 2020.
"When this thing hit, it took me off my feet," Mitchell said.
Mitchell spent several days at Northwestern Hospital, where she almost died. Mitchell still gets emotional when thinking about the day she went home.
"I have three daughters, a husband, six grandchildren and I was so happy to get home. And when I saw them, I said, 'Thank you, Lord."
Mitchell said the severity of her illness was related to her asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure. According to UIC Researcher and Professor of Medicine Jun Ma, nearly 95% of adults hospitalized with COVID between March 2020 and March 2021 had an underlying condition. Ma has been urging public health officials to change the national COVID strategy moving forward.
"I think the message is really we should have a more comprehensive response and preparedness plan that does prioritize chronic disease prevention control," Ma said.
Ma said the pandemic should become syndemic rather than endemic, meaning a focus on COVID and chronic diseases together.
"If we don't act, I think we can continue seeing unnecessary death," Ma said.
Ma and doctors said public health must incorporate prevention and control of chronic diseases into COVID campaigns for vaccines, testing and masking.
"We are talking about blood pressure screening in the mall or talking about diabetes discussions in school or colleges," said Dr. Shikha Jain of UI Health.
Health experts said the window of opportunity for public health to act is now. If they do not, people with chronic diseases will continue to be the population who will have the worst outcomes during the next wave and future pandemics.