Illinois keeps setting records with new COVID cases.
State public health officials announce 30,386 cases, blowing past the old record of about 21,000 cases. And the state reports 87 additional deaths.
5,689 are hospitalized with COVID. And COVID patients are occupying 34% of the state’s ICU beds.
“We’re seeing a lot of breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals, but those are almost always mild—or sometimes even asymptomatic,” said Dr. Allison Bartlett, associate professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Chicago Medicine. “Really what we’re seeing is it’s the unvaccinated individuals who are getting much sicker when they get omicron.”
With this surge, Bartlett said it’s still not the right time to get together in large group settings over the New Year weekend. However, if planning on gathering, to take precautions, like trying to keep the group smaller, taking rapid tests before gathering and trying to wear a mask as much as possible.
And the combination of the surge and the holidays have left people scrambling to find COVID tests. If appointments or walk-ins for a PCR test aren’t available, Bartlett said the at-home tests can be an added layer of safety, but not exactly perfect. She said that’s due to variables like someone not swabbing their nose long enough or where in the disease course someone is.
“I really wish I had a magic way for us to all get tested, because it’s a big problem,” Bartlett said.