The Illinois Department of Public Health is changing how it’s doing its COVID-19 data reporting going forward.
As of Tuesday, the IDPH will focus on the case rate per 100,000 people, the percentage of ICU beds available, a rolling seven-day average of COVID-19 diagnosed hospital admissions, and weekly deaths.
New IDPH Director Dr. Amaal Tokars said Tuesday the new data reporting is in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which changed in late February what it looks at when classifying counties as low, medium or high risk.
“At this stage of the pandemic, now that we have vaccines and effective therapies available, it is more useful to rely on data that indicates the case rate, disease severity and the level of strain on health care system to guide our public health recommendations,” Tokars said.
The state’s case rate is 13.7 cases per 100,00 people and 26% of ICU beds are available. Illinois is averaging 34 COVID-19 diagnosed hospital admissions per day, and 71 deaths per week.
The state is moving away from test and case positivity rate because labs no longer are required to report negative antigen test results, effectively making the testing denominator unknown.
“All of the antigen tests that will be done, we only will know the positives,” said Dr. Arti Barnes, the IDPH’s chief medical officer.
Case rates per 100,000 people are the most stable data the state can rely on going forward, Barnes said.
In addition, the state will begin to bring back a focus on breakthrough hospitalizations and infections and what that means for people’s risk of a COVID-19 hospitalization based on their risk factors, Barnes said.
“It’s not as much of a change in guidance as it is an alerting system for counties,” Barnes said.
Dr. Jane Fornoff, also with the IDPH, said the state should have the changes to vaccination data implemented by the beginning of May.
The new data reporting comes as Illinois sees an increase in new COVID-19 cases, Tokars said, driven by the BA.2 variant becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 both in the state and nationwide.
In March, the state briefly reached a low of 8.4 cases per 100,000 people, but since then, has seen a steady increase. The new case rate of 13.7 per 100,000 is still well below the peak of the omicron wave in January, when the case rate reached 255.1 per 100,000 people.
Tokars was asked if the state was considering re-instating any mask mandates. Philadelphia this week became the first major city in the U.S. to put an indoor mask mandate back on, as the northeast part of the country is seeing a spike in infections.
“We are not discussing a mandate at this time. But we don’t know what the future will be,” Tokars said. “At this time, we are really wanting to educate people on actions they could and should take.”
Tokars said if the state reached the high level of transmission as now defined by the CDC, the IDPH would “strongly recommend” that everyone wears a face covering in indoor public places.
Illinois has seen 3,086,665 total cases of the virus, and 33,489 people have died.
As of late Monday, Illinois had 522 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of those, 75 were in intensive care units, and 25 were on ventilators.
As of Tuesday, the IDPH will provide a county-by-county update focusing on the case rate per 100,000 people, the percentage of ICU beds available, a rolling seven-day average of COVID-19 diagnosed hospital admissions, and weekly deaths.
The definition of a COVID-19 diagnosed hospital admission is as follows: The seven-day average of daily number of hospital admissions given a diagnosis of COVID-19 as measured using the Illinois Syndromic Surveillance System.
Illinois collects all emergency department and inpatient visits through syndromic surveillance from all acute care hospitals in Illinois in near-real time. Data is presented with a three-day lag to allow time for diagnosis to be reported.
At the county level, a visit is counted by where the patient resides. A patient with multiple visits will be counted for each visit. Admissions may not be because of COVID-19 as the primary cause. Syndromic surveillance data is not the same source used by CDC to report COVID-19 hospital admissions data.
|County||Case Rate/100,000 population||% of ICU beds available||COVID-19 diagnosed hospital admissions |
(7-day rolling average)
Vaccine update: As of Tuesday, the IDPH reported a total of 26,173,145 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed statewide, with 21,581,107 vaccines administered.
As of Tuesday, 8,222,332 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or 64.53% of the population. Illinois has a population of 12,741,080 people.
For Monday, the state administered 17,146 vaccines.
Among Illinois residents 5 and older:
Fully Vaccinated: 8,663,035 (72.6%)
At Least 1 Dose: 9,681,354 (81.2%)
Among Illinois residents 12 and older:
Fully Vaccinated: 8,252,366 (76.1%)
At Least 1 Dose: 9,216,054 (85%)
Among Illinois residents 18 and older:
Fully Vaccinated: 7,612,689 (77.3%)
At Least 1 Dose: 8,509,546 (86.4%)
Among Illinois residents 65 and older:
Fully Vaccinated: 1,798,351 (88%)
At Least 1 Dose: 1,971,375 (95%)
There can be as much as a 72-hour delay in reporting from healthcare providers on vaccines administered.
In northern Illinois, here is the percentage of the population fully vaccinated by county:
- Chicago: 67.96%
- Suburban Cook: 72.17%
- Lake: 69.03%
- McHenry: 65.07%
- DuPage: 74.85%
- Kane: 65.67%
- Will: 66.02%
- Kendall: 68.23%
- La Salle: 57.87%
- Grundy: 57.12%
- DeKalb: 56.15%
- Ogle: 56.42%
- Lee: 58.44%
- Whiteside: 51.35%
- Bureau: 55.95%