Coronavirus infections have been rising for weeks in Illinois, and for the second time this month, infections neared 5,000 in a 24-hour period.
The 4,942 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus reported Friday mark the highest single-day total since Jan. 23, when the state reported 5,152 cases.
The statistics come a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all Illinois residents and a vaccine requirement for pre-K through 12th grade teachers and staff, higher education employees and students, and health care workers in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices.
The mask mandate goes into effect Monday, and employees and students must receive at least their first dose of vaccine by Sept. 5 or undergo weekly testing.
Pritzker repeatedly cited the rising number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and the declining hospital capacity as reasons for issuing the mandates.
“Nearly all Illinoisans hospitalized with COVID are the Illinoisans not vaccinated, and those hospitalizations are only increasing,” Pritzker said Thursday. “Our ICU usage has multiplied by a factor of seven this summer alone.”
According to state data, only 16% of the state’s ICU beds are available. As of Thursday night, 2,240 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 500 patients in intensive care units and 253 on ventilators.
The seven-day statewide positivity rate is now 5.2%, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.
All of Illinois’ 102 counties are experiencing high transmission of COVID-19, defined by IDPH as areas with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
In Cook County, the average seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 130.19, according to state data.
Chicago is now recording 443 cases per day based on a seven-day average, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data. In the past week, the number of cases has decreased 7%, according to city data.
The city’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is now 4.2%, down from 4.7% a week ago.
Since Aug. 20, state health officials have reported 25,636 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 174 deaths, including 60 on Thursday alone.