CHICAGO — Many Illinois regions meet the state’s metrics for moving to a less-restrictive tier of coronavirus mitigation measures as of Monday, although much of the Chicago area continues to fall just short due to the availability of non-ICU hospital beds.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,385 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases Monday, as well as 50 additional deaths. The state continues to see a downward trend in new infections, with the current 7-day average of 5,500 cases returning to the level seen before a rise which began after the Christmas holiday.
While the number of tests performed on average in Illinois remains around 94,000 a day, near levels seen before the Christmas holiday, the 7-day case positivity rate has continued to decline to reach 5.9% as of Monday.
Several regions across the state qualify for a lessening of coronavirus restrictions as of Monday, based on their 7-day test positivity rates, number of COVID-19 patients and availability of both Intensive Care Unit and non-ICU hospital beds.
The most dramatic decrease could be seen in the West-Central Region, which has been in the most-restrictive “Tier 3” but meets the requirements for moving all the way back to “Phase 4” of reopening. The Southern Illinois region also qualifies for moving back to Phase 4.
Additionally, the North Region and East-Central Region now qualify for a return to “Tier 1,” which allows for restaurants and bars that serve food to reopen indoor dining.
Illinois officials have not yet announced whether these regions will be allowed to move to the less-restrictive tiers as of Monday afternoon. Over the weekend, they announced indoor dining would be allowed to resume in the North-Central and Southern regions.
While regions including the City of Chicago, greater Cook County as well as the west and north suburbs are seeing test positivity rates that would qualify them to move to “Tier 2,” they all fall just short in the availability of surgical and non-ICU hospital beds.
Hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 are trending down statewide, with IDPH reporting 3,345 hospitalizations as of Sunday night including 705 in intensive care and 392 on ventilators. However, the vast majority of non-ICU beds are occupied by patients who are not diagnosed with COVID-19.
While COVID-19 vaccinations continue across the state, the rate at which doses are being administered appears to have been declining in recent days. The IDPH reported a 7-day average of 22,856 as of Monday, down from a peak of around 25,000 seen on Friday.
To date, Illinois health officials say the state has received 1,085,750 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, while 495,563 have been administered statewide. Of the 304,000 doses which were set aside for Walgreens and CVS to administer to residents at long-term care facilities, 66,679 have been administered to date.
(This story was originally published on January 18, 2021)