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Illinois COVID cases top 30,000 in new state daily record

December 31, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has 30,386 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed statewide, public health officials announced Thursday, smashing by more than 9,000 the previous state record for new cases in a day and nearly doubling the high from last fall’s surge.

The previous record was set on Christmas Eve when more than 21,000 infections were diagnosed, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Officials have urged Illinois residents to get fully vaccinated with boosters while the state’s hospitals face their greatest burden since Dec. 1, 2020. Coronavirus patients occupied 5,689 hospital beds statewide Wednesday night — nearly all of them unvaccinated, officials said. That was a net increase of 218 patients in one day.

COVID-19 deaths are mounting as well, with 87 more confirmed Thursday. Illinois has averaged 55 deaths per day over the last week, a rate that has more than tripled in a month.

“All of this is due to omicron,” Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said of the highly infectious variant.

Also Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association urged hospitals to postpone non-emergency surgeries and other procedures to free up beds in intensive care units for a likely surge of post-holiday omicron COVID-19 cases.