As we begin the New Year, I wanted to applaud the front-line essential workers at our State-operated facilities. Unfortunately, the holiday season was overshadowed by the next phase of COVID-19 and, again, as they have so many times over the past 22 months, our staff have stepped up to these latest challenges. I thank all staff, both 24/7 and non-24/7, for continuing to practice all that we have learned-social distancing, the proper donning of effective masks and other PPE, screening prior to coming to work, and being up-to-date on vaccinations-all to be safe at work, at home, and in the community. This is to protect our patients, our residents, our co-workers, our customers, our families, and our friends.
To put the seriousness and challenges of these times-and the significance of the protective actions that we need to continue to take--into perspective: Last week, Illinois public health officials reported 44,089 new COVID cases and 104 related deaths. That's the largest one-day increase in new cases on record, which was previously 32,279 and the largest number of deaths reported since February 2021. There have been 2,295,445 total COVID cases, including 28,156 deaths in the state since the pandemic began. And, the seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 18.4%, the highest figure reported since reporting began in Oct. 2020. IDPH reports 7,098 COVID-19 patients being treated in Illinois hospitals, 256 more than the previous day, with 1,119 in the ICU, a 10.8% increase from a week ago.
I thank you again for all that you have done and are continuing to do for the residents of Illinois. Your care and vigilance, in providing life-preserving and life-improving care and benefits to those in need and in taking the necessary COVID precautions to be able to do so, continues to lift up millions of individuals and families across Illinois. I encourage you to continually check our Reinvent IDHS, Restore Illinois website for the most up to date information or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and I wish you, your families, and all those who we support and care for the best in 2022.
Grace B. Hou