157 coronavirus deaths reported in Illinois

Illinois’ average positivity rate increased for a fifth straight day, up to 8.1%, state health officials said Friday. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

The state saw a slight decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases as the new year began. Illinois reported 7,201 new cases of coronavirus Friday, a slight decrease from the number of cases which had been surging in the past couple of days, according to officials.
The number of new COVID-19 patients was down from the 8,009 cases reported Thursday. Friday’s cases come out of 97,222 tests, which is also down from the number of tests reported Thursday.
State health officials said 157 people died from the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, up from 133 deaths a day earlier. Of those who died, 58 people were Cook County residents who ranged in age from 40 to 90 years old.
Although the Department of Public Health reported fewer new cases, the state’s average positivity rate increased for a fifth straight day, up to 8.1%.
As of Thursday night, 4,093 people diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized. Of that number, 837 were ICU patients and 496 were on ventilators.
In total, Illinois has had 970,590 people test positive for COVID-19 and had 16,647 deaths related to the virus since the pandemic started, according to the state health department.
The state has not reported any cases tied to a new variant of the virus that was first detected in the United Kingdom. On Thursday, Illinois health officials said they were working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, laboratory researchers, physicians and academic partners to monitor cases for the variant.
The Florida Health Department tweeted a statement late Thursday that the variant was detected in a man in his 20s with no recent travel history. It comes after recent reports of confirmed cases elsewhere, in Colorado and California.

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Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.
Contributing: Associated Press

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