Cook County has its 13,000. Coronavirus deaths recorded, officials said Wednesday, calling it a “dire milestone” that will come when trailers are used again in hospitals.
Officials citing data from the Cook County’s coroner’s office found 1,000 deaths had been recorded in the last six weeks alone. Previously, it took the county more than three months to grow from 11,000 deaths to 12,000.
“The [medical examiner’s office] confirmed 254 COVID-19 deaths for the week of December 27, 2021. These are the highest total numbers the MEO has seen since December 2020, months before the COVID-19 vaccine became generally available to residents, “the county said in a press release.
In response, the county’s Emergency Management and Regional Security Department has again started deploying trailers to local hospitals “to help decompress their morgues if necessary.”
Of the county’s 13,000 deaths, nearly half were reported in Chicago.
More than 80% of deaths have occurred in people over the age of 60, with the oldest COVID-19 death in Cook County being 109 years old. The youngest, however, was only 9 months old.
The news comes in the first week of a new statewide vaccination mandate that requires proof of vaccination for those who want to dine in restaurants, drink in bars, exercise in gyms, and more.
It also comes amid a nationwide surge in Omicron cases.
Almost every fourth reported COVID test in the city of Chicago comes back with positive results and continues a rapid rise in positivity rates in the city.
According to the latest information from the Chicago Department of Health, the city’s positivity rate is 23.6% on December 30, the last date data is available due to delays and other factors, the highest rate reported since May 7, 2020.
That number represents a rapid increase in the city’s positivity rate over the past month. On December 7, the city’s positivity rate was 3.9% and has increased every day since that day, officials said.
Dr. CDPH commissioner Allison Arwady says part of the increase in positivity rates was due to the influx of tests performed at home, which numbers are not included in test results because they are not sent to state laboratories.
On December 7th, the city recorded an average of 958 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents, and that number has increased nearly 380%, rising to 4,591 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents as of December 30th.
Those numbers come as test rates have dropped in the city. According to CDPH data, an average of 23,675 test results were sent back to laboratories daily for the past week, a 41% decrease from the previous week.
Still, Arwady says the city’s current average of eight to nine deaths a day “is much lower than we saw earlier in the pandemic,” but is still seeing an increase from two to three deaths a day that the city prior Listed a few months ago. She added that much of the recent surge in deaths in the city has been due to unvaccinated Chicagoans.