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Covid case counts, hospitalizations and even deaths are reaching levels not seen in Illinois in nearly one year, according to new data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

State health officials reported 7,340 new cases in the last day which is the highest daily case count since December 20, 2020.   The increasing case count is certainly reflective of high transmission rates but also comes amid a record-level of testing.   More concerning is that Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing at an alarming rate.  3,029 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, the highest daily patient count since late January and an increase of more than 187 patients in a single day.  Illinois is now averaging 41 Covid-related deaths per day, the highest 7-day rolling average since February 24.

Covid patients now account for 12-percent of all hospitalizations in Illinois and 23% of all patients currently in intensive care.   While no Illinois Department of Public Health region is reporting a shortage of hospital space, some have come precariously close in the last week.  Only 15 of 133 intensive care beds in Will and Kankakee counties are currently available.  In far southern Illinois, a region that includes nearly 20 counties is reporting just 6 of 78 ICU beds available.

The vast majority of Covid patients who have been hospitalized or died in the last year were unvaccinated.  IDPH reports 3,722 fully vaccinated individuals have later been hospitalized with Covid-19, representing .05% of the fully vaccinated population.  1,075 fully vaccinated people have still died from Covid-19, representing .014% of the fully vaccinated population.  Half of all hospitalizations of fully vaccinated people occurred among patients who have underlying or immunocompromising condition, according to IDPH .

If there is a silver lining to Illinois’ Covid data it’s a dramatic increase in people receiving doses of the vaccine.  An average of 70,000 people are receiving the jab each day, a number not seen since May.