Illinois’ coronavirus death toll tops 16,000

A technician handles a blood sample to test for COVID-19 at a Harwood Heights facility in April. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

State public health officials reported another 105 virus deaths and 4,453 new COVID-19 patients. The death toll in Illinois from the coronavirus has climbed past the 16,000 mark, state public health officials said Monday.
The state reported 105 deaths from the coronavirus and 4,453 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus Monday. The death toll rose to 16,074 since the pandemic began nine months ago.
Sixteen of the new deaths were in Cook County. The new COVID-19 cases were found in a batch of 51,406 tests conducted over the last 24 hours.
As of Sunday night, 4,243 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of that number, 884 patients were in intensive care units and 515 COVID-positive patients were on ventilators.
The state’s latest numbers continue a trend of lower case counts since a November surge saw the state log record-breaking daily cases, including a nationwide record of 15,415 cases reported in one day.
So far, the state has reported a total of 942,362 cases in 102 counties in Illinois. Officials have previously pointed to a decrease in testing as a potential reason why the state is seeing lower daily case totals.
Though the state continues to grapple with the virus, state health officials have said Illinois is in the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic now that some residents have started to receive vaccine shots.
The state is still in “Phase 1A” of its vaccination plan, which puts about 700,000 health care workers and more than 100,000 nursing home residents first in line for shots, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last week.
A spokeswoman for Pritzker said Sunday that 112,987 first doses of a vaccine have been administered statewide as of Dec. 24.
Numbers have moved in the right direction over the past three weeks, but the state is “likely to see some uptick” due to holiday transmission, Pritzker said.

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