CHICAGO — All of Illinois is back under “Phase 4” of the state’s coronavirus plan as of Thursday, while positive trends in declining cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,328 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, 69 additional deaths and case positivity rate of 3.4% Thursday. Most indicators have continued a downward trend on average for more than three weeks.
According to the CDC, the number of new Covid infections has been declining nationwide since mid-January, including areas which were hardest-hit by a surge in cases following the December holidays.
Illinois ranks in the bottom third of states in the number of new cases and deaths reported over the past week when population is taken into account, along with many other Midwestern states.
According to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health, the city averaged about 562 new Covid cases and 10 deaths, as well as a test positivity rate of 5.6% from January 23-29.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday morning there is still no deal regarding the Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plan, while the Chicago Teachers Union continues to raise concerns about teacher safety.
As the Biden administration pushes for students to return to the classroom full-time nationwide, the CDC said Wednesday that vaccinating teachers does not have to be part of the equation for schools to reopen safely.
Indiana health officials are allowing schools across the state to change their quarantine rules for students with coronavirus exposure, shortening 14-day quarantines to seven days if they have a negative nasal swab test at least five days after exposure.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 2,403 new COVID-19 cases, 37 additional deaths as well as a 7-day test positivity rate of 7.5% Thursday, as the state also continues to see a steady decline in these indicators.
Regions across Illinois are seeing similar trends as well, while the Metro East Region outside St. Louis is the last to return to “Phase 4” of the state’s coronavirus plan Thursday.
The IDPH reported 62,318 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were administered yesterday, bringing the state’s weekly average to about 46,000 doses a day. So far, 1,156,453 shots have been given and 256,839 residents are fully vaccinated.
While Illinois continues to rank sixth in the country in the terms of total shots given, it is in the bottom fourth in terms of the total population vaccinated to date, according to the New York Times, lagging behind more populous states like New York and California.
Health officials and pharmacies continue to ramp up vaccination efforts, with IDPH announcing 78 additional coronavirus vaccination locations opened at Walgreens stores across Illinois Thursday.
More than 4 million people currently qualify to receive a vaccine, including 3.2 million in the most recent “1B” phase.