Illinois COVID Update Today: IT Reports 5,714 Cases, 23 Deaths; Chicago doctors track down omicron variant

CHICAGO (WLS) – Illinois public health officials on Tuesday reported 5,714 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 23 related deaths.

There have been 1,809,875 cases of COVID in total, including 26,414 deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic.

The statewide seven-day test positivity rate from November 24 to 39 is 5.2%.

In the past 24 hours, labs reported testing 125,128 new samples for a total of 39,115,497 since the start of the pandemic.

As of Monday evening, 2,379 Illinois patients are said to be in hospital with COVID-19. Of these, 457 patients were in intensive care and 217 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

SEE ALSO: All Vaccinated Adults Should Receive COVID-19 Booster Due to Omicron Variant, CDC Says

A total of 17,288,192 doses of the vaccine were administered in Illinois on Tuesday, and 57.96% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day moving average of vaccines administered daily is 47,423.

Chicago doctors track down new variant of omicron

With the spread of the new omicron variant, the CDC is urging all people 18 and over to get vaccinated. Chicago doctors are already following the movement of the new omicron variant.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said she was concerned about the omicron variant, but the sky was not falling.

“We have to be serious and we have to get people vaccinated now,” Dr Arwady said.

Throughout the pandemic, researchers at a lab at Rush University Medical Center have taken random samples of COVID from across Chicago in order to sequence the genome of the virus.

“When we get the samples, we can see which mutations the virus has and which variant it is,” said Hannah Barbian, genomic virologist at Rush.

So far, the new omicron variant has not been detected in Chicago or elsewhere in the United States, but researchers are preparing to find it soon. The new variant discovered in South Africa is causing great concern among infectious disease physicians.

SEE ALSO: Chicago couple, unvaccinated and together for years, die of COVID weeks before marriage

“The start suggests that it could turn out to be quite contagious and that it could also elude the immune response,” said UIC director of infectious diseases Dr Richard Novak.

The concern is how quickly it appeared and spread from South Africa to other countries.

“I have a flat, flat, flat graphic, and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, I have a number that’s in the danger zone,†said Lori Post, who tracks COVID cases in the world at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Two days before the World Health Organization alerted the world to the new variant, Post noticed a huge surge in cases in South Africa to the point where she thought it was a mistake of data.

“I have never seen anything like this in my entire time of COVID tracking since March 2020,†Post said.

While omicron may have already made its way to the United States, the Biden administration and doctors are urging people to wear masks, get vaccinated and receive boosters as soon as possible. Pharmaceutical companies are already working on fine-tuning the vaccine for the new variant.

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