Pre-holiday COVID-19 five-day caseload offers mixed news, simple message

State health officials on Wednesday reported 21,034 new coronavirus cases in the past five days, showing a slight drop in the caseload over the past five days — but a jump from the comparable period last week.

Due to the shortened vacation work week, the Illinois Department of Public Health has released the five-day numbers instead of the typical seven-day statistics, making comparisons difficult.

The five-day total, Saturday through Wednesday, is 3% lower than the 21,715 cases reported in the five days immediately prior, Nov. 15 through Friday.

But it’s 24% higher than the 16,916 cases reported from Nov. 13 to Nov. 17, the most recent five-day period spanning the same days of the week, Saturday through Wednesday.

Anyway, dr. Emily Landon, the executive medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago Medicine, said it is “probably unwise to go into too much detail” when looking at the numbers.

That’s because changes in people’s behavior — and their testing habits — can cause spikes and dips in caseload totals around the holidays.

While the five-day caseload released Wednesday is high, Illinois is outperforming other states in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, Landon said. She would still advise people to take precautions, but there’s no need to be terrified, the University of Chicago epidemiologist said.

“We knew the numbers would go up because they always do when people are in more, and they don’t shoot as high as they do in other states, so that’s great news, but that doesn’t mean they can’t,” Landon said. , while urging vaccinated people to remain “somewhat vigilant” about who is in their circles and who they spend close, unmasked time with.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health released its five-day coronavirus data on Wednesday. It will not provide its typical seven-day weekly coronavirus caseload data on Friday, but will resume that schedule next week, a spokeswoman said.

Along with the 21,034 new cases, the public health department announced an additional 87 deaths from the virus in the period Saturday through Wednesday. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 3.3%.

It was reported Tuesday evening that 1,982 Illinoisans who test positive for the virus were in hospitals statewide. Of that number, 384 patients were in the ICU and 150 COVID-19 patients were on a ventilator.

New coronavirus cases rose sharply in November after a month of declines, prompting public health officials to warn that the state is once again gaining momentum.

Last week, the state saw another 28,280 new cases of coronavirus in the past seven days. That total was a 25% increase from the previous week’s seven-day total, marking a third straight week in the troubling trend of rising cases as the state weathers a fifth major resurgence of the deadly virus.

On Friday alone, public health officials reported 5,720 new COVID-19 cases and 37 deaths, the most reported in a single day since Sept. 3.

As of last Friday, the public health department reported that 311,308 doses of vaccines had been administered to residents of the state, bringing the number of Illinois residents who have received at least one dose to about 67%. Nearly 61% of the state population is fully vaccinated.

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