Illinois COVID: IL reports 42,903 new cases, 101 deaths

What are the different COVID tests, and when should you take one?

BySarah Schulte and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, January 8, 2022
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CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 42,903 new COVID cases and 104 related deaths Friday. While it's slightly lower than the record-setting 44,089 cases reported Thursday, it still means IDPH has reported more than 200,000 new COVID cases statewide in the past seven days, a 45% increase from the week before.

There have been 2,382,437 total COVID cases, including 28,361 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

SEE ALSO: Illinois using SMART health card with personal vaccine QR code to prove you're vaccinated

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 18.5%, down slightly from Thursday. It is the first reported drop in positivity rate since December 3.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 233,655 new specimens for a total of 45,992,122 since the pandemic began.

As of Thursday night, 7,096 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,123 patients were in the ICU and 639 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 19,535,937 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Friday, and 60.9% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 42,098.

What are the different COVID tests, and which one should you take?

Whether they've waited in line for a PCR or taken a rapid test at home, thousands upon thousands of Illinoisans have taken COVID tests during the past few weeks.

"We may be in a state where we are utilizing tests to the point where people who frankly need them, do not have access," said Dr. Kalisha Hill, governor of the College of American Pathologists.

Hill said tests should be reserved for people with true exposures or symptoms.

"PCR tests are the gold standard, they are the most specific and sensitive tests we have for detecting COVID-19," she said.

If exposed, Hill said a PCR test should be taken five to seven days after the initial exposure, not a home antigen test. Hill said antigen tests are most helpful if you already have symptoms.

"Because if you are having symptoms you likely have a viral load for an antigen test to detect if you have COVID-19," she said.

Hill said if the home or rapid test is positive, you are positive and you can confirm with a PCR test.

But she cautioned that in the current environment, with the case load and positivity rate increasing daily, testing should not be used as a license to participate in large gatherings, especially since antigen tests can have false negatives.

Her advice is to wait until this wave is over before socializing with large groups.

Hill also said we cannot test our way out of the pandemic, increasing the vaccination rate is the only way to move forward.