Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 5,714 cases, 23 deaths

ByMichelle Gallardo and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
COVID-19 Update: Chicago's top doctor all but certain Omicron variant already in US 'Get a booster now'
Chicago's top doctor Allison Arwady said she's all but certain the Omicron COVID-19 variant is already in the United States.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 5,714 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 23 related deaths Tuesday.

There have been 1,809,875 total COVID cases, including 26,414 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Nov. 24-29 is 5.2%.

RELATED: Chicago's top doctor all but certain Omicron COVID-19 variant already in US 'Get a booster now'

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gives an update on COVID in Chicago amid concerns from new varian omicron.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 125,128 new specimens for a total of 39,115,497 since the pandemic began.

As of Monday night, 2,379 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 457 patients were in the ICU and 217 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 17,288,192 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Tuesday, and 57.96% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 47,423.

Chicago doctors tracking new omicron variant

With the new omicron variant spreading, the CDC is urging everyone 18 and older to get a booster shot. Doctors in Chicago are already tracking the new omicron variant's movement.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, CHicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said she is concerned about the omicron variant, but that the sky is not fallling.

"We need to be serious and we need to get people vaccinated now," Dr. Arwady said.

Throughout the pandemic, researchers at a Rush University Medical Center lab have taken random samples of COVID from all over Chicago in order to sequence the genome of the virus.

"When we get the samples back, we can see what mutations the virus has and what variant they are," said Hannah Barbian, a genomic virologist at Rush.

So far, the new omicron variant has not been detected in Chicago or anywhere in the United States, but researchers are preparing to find it soon. The new variant discovered in South Africa is the cause of great concern among infectious disease doctors.

SEE ALSO: Chicago couple, unvaccinated and together for years, die from COVID weeks before wedding

"The early going suggests it could turn out to be fairly contagious and it also could evade immune response," said UIC Infectious Disease Director Dr. Richard Novak.

The concern is how fast it popped up and spread from South Africa to other countries.

"I have a graphic that is flat, flat, flat, and then all of the sudden, out of the blue, I have a number that's up in the danger zone," said Lori Post, who tracks COVID cases worldwide at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Two days before the World Health Organization alerted the world about the new variant, Post noticed a huge jump of cases in South Africa to the point where she thought it was a data error.

"I've never seen anything like that in my entire time of tracking COVID since March of 2020," Post said.

While omicron may have already made its way to the U.S., the Biden administration and doctors are urging people to wear masks, get vaccinated and boosters sooner than later. Drug companies are already working on tweaking the vaccine for the new variant.