Illinois COVID cases: IL reports 7,390 new cases, 28 deaths

Chicago area doctors fear increase in COVID hospitalizations

BySarah Schulte, Eric Horng, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
COVID double surge concerns some doctors
Doctors expected another COVID surge come winter time, but the omicron variant brings the possibility of a surge upon a surge, which is concerning for health experts.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 7,390 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 28 related deaths Tuesday.

There have been 1,911,649 total COVID cases, including 26,934 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 5.7%.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Lori Lightfoot considering new mitigations as Chicago COVID cases rise

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 184,208 new specimens for a total of 41,489,148 since the pandemic began.

As of Monday night, 3,628 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 743 patients were in the ICU and 368 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 18,251,052 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Monday, and 59.52% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 68,908.

SEE ALSO | Mayor Lori Lightfoot considering new mitigations as Chicago COVID cases rise

Across Illinois, hospitalizations are up more than 80% since Thanksgiving, and with Christmas approaching, there's growing concern we could see a surge-upon-a-surge.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Illinois' first COVID vaccine doses, there are few reasons to celebrate as statewide hospitalizations have tripled since early November.

"It's very important that people just take extra precautions especially now because, yes, our hospitals are filling up with unvaccinated people, I might add," Gov. JB Pritzker said.

At Edward and Elmhurst Hospitals, the number of COVID inpatients is at an eleven-month high, and many of those unvaccinated patients are very ill.

"They get tested late," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director of infection control at Edward Hospital. "They don't get treated with monoclonal antibodies, and they end up in the hospital when they're really desperate, and they can't breathe."

SEE ALSO | Chicago Public Schools distributing 150K COVID testing kits for students to use over winter break

Ahead of the holiday break, CPS is preparing to send thousands of students home with COVID testing kits to be taken and mailed to a lab for results before they return to the classroom.

Doctors say at-home rapid antigen tests, available at drug stores, are less sensitive than lab PCR tests, but provide some protection this holiday.

"For things like gatherings... you can feel confident that folks who are coming... they are unlikely to have COVID at a level that they're going to spread it," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner, Chicago Dept. of Public Health.

But the best tool remains, vaccination and a booster. At Erie Family Health Centers, the number of shots administered has doubled in the past two weeks.

"It is not too late to get your booster and feel you have additional protection in place for Christmas and holiday travels," said Dr. Caroline Hoke, chief clinical officer at Erie Family Health Centers.

Compared to last Christmas, when few had access to the vaccine, hospitalized patients in this latest surge are decades younger. At Edward Hospital, the median age is 48.