Illinois COVID cases: IL reports 11,858 new cases, 52 deaths

Suburban Cook County reports 1st omicron case

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, December 16, 2021
COVID Chicago: 1 year since 1st COVID-19 vaccine given in city, hospitalizations surge again
Vaccination efforts this past year have been remarkable and historic, but the virus continues to thrive among those who continue to say no.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 11,858 new COVID cases - the most recorded in a single day in 2021 - and 52 related deaths Thursday

There have been 1,933,291 total COVID cases, including 27,065 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 5.9%, which is up from 5.8% on Wednesday.

Dr. Robert Citronberg with Advocate Aurora Health answers COVID-19 questions.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 191,311 new specimens for a total of 41,823,332 since the pandemic began.

As of Tuesday night, 3,725 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 772 patients were in the ICU and 391 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

A total of 18,403,106 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday, and 59.71% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 67,956.

SEE ALSO | 1 year since 1st COVID vaccine given in Chicago, hospitalizations surge again amid new variants

Illinois also confirmed its second case of the Omicron variant Wednesday. Officials said the suburban Cook County resident is asymptomatic and was fully vaccinated, though it's unclear if that person had received a booster.

Officials declined to say in which suburb that person lives. Samples from a handful of close contacts of that individual are now being screened for Omicron.

"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.

Wednesday also marked the first anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Illinois, but, with statewide hospitalizations tripling since early November, officials are offering a warning.

"Today is a day of celebration," Chicago's top doctor, Allison Arwady, said. "Seventy-four percent of all eligible Chicagoans, meaning over the age of five, have had at least a first dose."

Despite a year later and plenty of supply, 650,000 Chicagoans remain unvaccinated, which Dr. Arwady said is more than enough to drive the Delta and Omicron surges.

"The fact that we still have 50 Chicagoans a day being hospitalized, five to six a day dying of COVID, I didn't think we would be there a year ago," she said.

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

Dr. Arwady admitted that a year ago, with a lifesaving and very effective vaccine available, she never thought we would be entering another holiday worried about COVID.

The city's top doctor added that she never anticipated how partisan and politicized the vaccine would become.

"It's been really sad to see people trust a lot of misinformation," she said.

This as the stated reports 79 new deaths Wednesday, the deadliest 24-hours in 10 months. A toll higher than in some entire countries, including the Netherlands (74), Canada (41) and Spain (8).

"I'm sad, as I know everybody else is, to be going into a second holiday still worried about COVID and still in a surge," the doctor said.