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COVID-19 In Illinois: New Coronavirus Cases Up 27% In The Past Week; State Reports Most Hospitalizations In More Than A Month

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois continues to see a troubling uptick in COVID-19 cases, as the number of daily infections and hospitalizations both have grown by double digits over the past week.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,761 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as well as five new deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 1,239,589 cases, including 21,256 deaths.

Over the past week, Illinois is averaging 2,358 new coronavirus cases per day, an increase of more than 27% over one week ago, when the state was averaging 1,853 daily infections.

The statewide 7-day average case positivity rate is up to 3.3%, the highest it's been since Feb. 11. One week ago, the case positivity rate was 2.6%, and it was as low as 2.1% on March 13.

As of Sunday night, 1,352 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 280 in the ICU and 128 on ventilators. Illinois is averaging 1,301 hospitalizations per day over the past week, up more than 13% from an average of 1,149 daily hospitalizations one week ago.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said, because hospitalizations are rising, the state does not meet the conditions to move to the new "bridge phase" of its reopening plan, which will allow for a gradual increase in capacity limits for businesses and public gatherings as vaccinations continue to climb.

In order to begin that new bridge phase, at least 70% of Illinois residents age 65 and older must have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while maintaining a 20% or lower ICU bed availability rate, and holding steady on COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, mortality rate, and case rate over a 28-day monitoring period.

The state is close to meeting the vaccination threshold, with approximately 69% of seniors now vaccinated, but as long as hospitalizations are still trending upward, the state will not begin the bridge phase even when the 70% threshold is met.

"Health officials continue to urge all residents to mask up, socially distance and wash hands frequently to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to the Bridge Phase," IDPH said in a statement.

Since December, Illinois has received a total of 6,692,795 doses of vaccines from the federal government, and 5,577,614 total doses have been administered statewide as of Sunday night. Illinois is now averaging 103,769 vaccinations per day over the past week, and a total of 2,081,988 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated, or 16.34% of the population.

Starting this week, the state is opening three brand new mass vaccination site in Kane, Lake, and Will counties, and expanding an existing site in Grundy County. Starting this week, all four sites will offer to any Illinois resident currently eligible for a vaccine, regardless of where they live.

The state's eligibility list currently includes healthcare workers; long-term care facility staff and residents; people age 65 and older; frontline essential workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers, grocery store employees, other food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers and inmates, postal workers, public transit workers, daycare workers, and shelter staff); anyone 16 and older with certain underlying health conditions; and other essential workers including higher education workers, government employees, media, restaurant workers, construction trade workers, and religious leaders.

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