CHICAGO (CBS) — For the ninth time in the past two weeks, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting a new low in the statewide COVID-19 infection rate, as the state moves closer to a full reopening on Friday.
As of Wednesday, the state’s 7-day average statewide case positivity rate is down to 1.0%, the lowest it’s been at any point during the pandemic. The rate has been falling steadily for nearly two months, after ticking up slightly from late March to mid-April. The rate reached past 20% in the early days of the pandemic last year, and fell to around 2.5% last summer, before shooting back up as high as 13.2% during the fall surge, and then dropping again through the start of this spring.
That infection rate has now been below 4% since mid-April.
IDPH on Wednesday reported 408 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases statewide, as well as 23 more deaths. Illinois is averaging 457 new cases per day over the past week, down 60% from two weeks ago. It’s also the lowest 7-day case average sine late March 2020.
Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 1,386,262 cases, including 22,997 deaths.
As of Tuesday night, a total of 797 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois. Hospitalizations in Illinois have been below 1,000 each day for the past week, the first time that has ever happened since IDPH began tracking virus hospitalizations in April 2020.
Illinois is averaging 850 hospitalizations per day over the past week, down 40% from two weeks ago. It’s the lowest average number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations on record in Illinois.
The vaccination rate has been trending up for the past five days, but still lagging far behind the April peak. Illinois is averaging 45,852 doses per day over the past week, up 28% from five days ago, but still down 65% from the peak on April 12.
A total of 5,639,749 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 44.26% of the population.
IDPH said than 68% of Illinois adults have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and 51% are fully vaccinated.
Illinois is set to fully reopen on Friday, with no capacity restrictions on businesses.
While people who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask in most circumstances, face coverings will still be required when people are riding public transportation or in congregate settings like schools, hospitals, daycare centers, and correctional facilities.
In addition, people who haven’t been fully vaccinated are still urged to wear masks in public.
However, the governor will lift the outdoor mask requirement for all Illinois schools, in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While businesses will no longer be subject to capacity limits from the state, individual businesses may still set their own masking and social distancing rules for customers.