Illinois’ coronavirus case tally eclipsed 1 million today as state public health officials announced 8,757 more people have contracted COVID-19.
A total of 1,008,045 infections have been diagnosed across the state since early March. That’s an average of about 3,316 new cases per day — or about one person infected every 26 seconds.
It also means roughly one in every 13 Illinois residents has carried COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic — almost 8% of the state population of 12.7 million. Experts agree thousands of additional cases likely have gone undetected over the past 10 months.
More than 21 million cases have been diagnosed nationwide. Illinois has seen the fifth most of any state, trailing California, Texas, Florida and New York.
“As this disease continues to wreak havoc on our nation — with the United States setting another record for the most COVID-19 deaths in a day just yesterday — it is critical that we take extra caution today and in the months ahead to reduce the spread, bring down hospitalization rates, and save lives,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “Now that vaccine distribution has begun, we can see the light at the end of this difficult time — let’s do everything we can to ensure all of our neighbors are able to be there as we cross that finish line, healthy as well.”
More than half of all the Illinois cases — 542,505 — were detected over the past two months alone as the state weathered a record-breaking resurgence that peaked in mid-November.
Illinois’ key metrics generally have trended in the right direction since then, aside from a weeklong uptick in positivity rates after Christmas. The latest cases were detected among 105,518 tests, raising the statewide seven-day average positivity rate by a tenth of a percentage point to 8.5%.
Nightly COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined from a late November peak near 6,200 down to 3,921 as of last night. Of those, 783 were receiving intensive care and 450 were on ventilators.
Pritzker said he’s “cautiously optimistic” some regions of the state “have made real progress and won’t reverse that progress.”
“My prayer for the new year is that everyone stays healthy and all of our regions continue to move in the right direction,” Pritzker said. “I ask all Illinoisans to join me in making that possible by wearing a mask and keeping your distance.”