Just days before the three-year anniversary of the state’s first COVID-19 diagnosis, Illinois Department of Public Health officials are reporting the state has surpassed 36,000 deaths from the virus.
That figure doesn’t include the nearly 5,000 unconfirmed deaths medical authorities believe were also caused by the respiratory disease.
The state’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 36,005, which includes 78 Illinois residents who died the week ending Jan. 15, according to IDPH figures.
Since the outset of the pandemic, 7,430 suburban Cook County residents have died from the disease. Another 7,697 Cook County residents living in Chicago have also died, according to IDPH records.
DuPage County, the state’s second-most populated county, had the second-highest death toll of any county in the state at 1,837. In Will County, 1,670 residents have died from the disease. Lake County’s death toll stands at 1,526, while Kane County’s is at 1,201. McHenry County is reporting 517 deaths over the past three years from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations from COVID-19 are on the decline.
IDPH reported 1,249 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals across the state as of Wednesday, the most recent data available. That’s a 16.3% decline from the week prior.
Of those hospitalized Wednesday, 142 COVID-19 patients are in ICU beds. That’s 31 fewer patients from a week ago.
“We are fortunate at this time to see no increase in hospitalizations,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “IDPH is continuing to focus our efforts on preserving hospital capacity and protecting those Illinois residents most at risk for severe disease from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”
IDPH officials are also reporting 10,967 new cases diagnosed for the week ending Jan. 15.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 18.5% of the state’s roughly 12.8 million residents have received a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the current dominant strain of the virus. Only 13 states have higher uptake rates, CDC figures show.
CDC officials also warned this week that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among children was leading to a decline in other vaccinations as well. The federal health agency reported measles, mumps and rubella vaccination among kindergartners dropped to 93% last school year, a full percentage point drop from 2020.
“While this might not sound significant, it means nearly 250,000 kindergartners are potentially not protected against measles alone,” said Dr. Georgina Peacock, director of CDC Immunization Services Division. “And we know that measles, mumps and rubella vaccination coverage for kindergartners is the lowest it has been in over a decade. Despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remain vigilant in efforts to ensure children get the vaccines they need to protect against serious diseases.”