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Illinois Continues To See Sharp Declines In COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, And Deaths In Recent Weeks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- What a difference a month makes. COVID-19 cases in Illinois have dropped off sharply in recent weeks, falling to their lowest levels since the start of the Omicron surge.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,701 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the second lowest daily total since early December, when the first cases of the Omicron variant were first detected in the state.

Illinois is now averaging 7,221 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, a 78% decrease from the state's peak of 32,501 cases per day on Jan. 12.

Just one month ago, Illinois reported 42,903 new cases of COVID-19, the second highest daily total of the entire pandemic.

The state's seven-day average case positivity rate is down to 5.5%, after reaching as high as 15.2% in January.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are also seeing a steep decline over the past month. As of Sunday night, a total of 2,744 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois, down 62% from one month ago. Hospitalizations in Illinois peaked at 7,380 on Jan. 12, but have dropped steadily ever since.

COVID-19 deaths also have dropped sharply in recent weeks. As of Monday, Illinois is averaging 81 COVID deaths per day, down by nearly a third from the 120 average daily deaths two weeks ago.

Monday morning, Gov. JB Pritzker said, with COVID rates headed in the right direction, he hopes to provide new COVID-19 guidance in the coming days, although he stopped short of specifically saying he plans to lift Illinois' indoor mask mandate or school mask mandate.

Last week, a downstate judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the school mask mandate at more than 140 districts, but Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul are appealing that ruling, and asking a state appeals court to overturn the temporary restraining order.

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