CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 11,524 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 related deaths Thursday, a record high number of cases for 2021.
State data shows this is the most COVID cases reported in Illinois in a single day since 12,542 new cases were reported on Dec. 1, 2020.
"While we are also reporting a record high number of tests across the entire pandemic, our test positivity rate is also high," a spokesperson for the Illinois Dept. of Public Health said in a statement. "Thanksgiving was one week ago and we are starting to see cases associated with family gatherings and travel. Additionally, there may be lags in reporting by laboratories over the long holiday weekend and we could see those results being reported now."
WATCH: Pres. Biden lays out winter COVID strategy
There have been 1,827,518 total COVID cases, including 26,499 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
RELATED: Minnesota reports 2nd US case of omicron COVID-19 variant in resident who traveled to New York City
The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Nov. 26-Dec. 1 is 5.7%.
Cook County's vaccination coordinator Dr. Gregory Huhn discussed possible reasons why Illinois just had its highest number of COVID cases since a year ago.
"We gotta see what's going to happen over the next couple of days," he said. "Could this reflect coming off the Thanksgiving holiday? Family gatherings, people being more indoors?"
Local health officials expect the omicron variant to inevitably show up in the state, but Governor JB Pritzker said Thursday there are currently no plans to impose any statewide restrictions.
"What we are watching are hospitalizations, and the seriousness of illness, as well as people going into hospitals and overall hospital capacity," he said.
The Biden Administration's winter plan for COVID includes free at-home rapid tests for eligible Americans, and 50 million free test kits for the uninsured or for people on Medicaid.
The president also urged everyone to get vaccinated and/or a booster. If you text 438829 you'll receive a list of pharmacies in your area where they are giving booster shots.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 231,876 new specimens for a total of 39,461,221 since the pandemic began. That is the highest number of single day tests reported in Illinois.
As of Wednesday night, 2,537 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 505 patients were in the ICU and 214 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
SEE ALSO: All vaccinated adults should get COVID-19 booster shot because of omicron variant, CDC says
A total of 17,408,457 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Thursday, and 58.16% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 44,992.