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COVID-19 Cases Rising Again In Illinois; Most New Cases Since Early May

CHICAGO (CBS) -- COVID-19 infections in Illinois have been gradually rising again in recent weeks, with the state reporting nearly 2,000 new cases on Thursday, the most in more than two months.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,993 new cases of the virus on Thursday, the highest one-day total since May 7.

Illinois is averaging 1,027 new cases per day over the past week, the first time the seven-day average for new cases has surpassed 1,000 since May 27.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate is up to 3%, more than triple the 0.9% case positivity rate reported by the state at the beginning of July.

However, those metrics are still below the rates reported in Illinois in a moderate surge of cases in April and May, and far below the fall surge of the virus, when Illinois reported 10,000 to 15,000 cases on multiple days in November and December.

The statewide positivity rate climbed over 12% during the fall surge, and was even higher at points during the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020, when the positivity rate reached as high as 20%.

New cases are up in every region of Illinois, though they're going up faster in far southern Illinois, the Metro East area near St. Louis and west-central Illinois than in the rest of the state. Those are also the regions of the state that generally have lower vaccination rates.

Hospitalizations are also climbing again in Illinois. There were 628 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday night, compared to 423 hospitalizations two weeks ago, a 48% increase. Hospitalizations fell as low as 380 statewide at the start of July, and have been creeping up throughout the month.

COVID-19 deaths, meantime, are still trending down compared to May and June, though deaths from the virus lag behind new infections and hospitalizations.

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