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Illinois Reports Highest COVID Infection Rate Since January, Most New Cases Per Day In 3 Months

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With the delta variant still surging in Illinois and across the country, the statewide infection rate for COVID-19 has reached its highest point in six months, with the state also reporting the most new cases per day since early May.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 16,742 new cases in the past week, including 64 more coronavirus deaths since last Friday.

The daily case load has been above 3,000 cases each of the past two days in Illinois. Before that, the last time the state had seen more than 3,000 cases in a single day was May 7.

Illinois is averaging 2,392 new cases per day over the past week, the highest daily case rate since May 7, when Illinois was averaging 2,349 new cases per day. The state's daily case average is up more than sixfold over the past month, after hitting pandemic lows in late June and early July.

The 4.6% statewide average case positivity rate reported on Friday is higher than it was at any point during the relatively small surge Illinois saw in April and May. It's the highest positivity rate reported in Illinois since Jan. 26. Four weeks ago, the positivity rate was 0.9%

IDPH also has reported more than 1,000 hospitalizations per day for the past four days. It's the fist time that's happened since late May and early June. Daily hospitalizations are up more than 150% over the past month.

Public health officials said the vast majority of cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks have been among people who are not fully vaccinated. According to IDPH, preliminary data for July shows 81% of new cases last month were in people who are unvaccinated, and 80% of new hospitalizations were in people who were unvaccinated.

Meantime, the vaccination rate has gone up the past couple weeks. Illinois is now averaging 25,244 doses per day, up 27% from two weeks ago. However, the vaccination rate is still well below the April peak, when the state was averaging more than 130,000 doses per day.

So far, 51.37% of the state's population is fully vaccinated, and 73.4% of all Illinois residents who are eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose.

Experts have said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide is driven largely by the more contagious delta variant.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the delta variant now accounts for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases nationwide as of last week.

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