CHARLESTON — An additional nine Coles County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, it was announced on Wednesday.
A news release from the Coles County Health Department reported the new cases of the coronavirus-caused disease and also said the state of Illinois is seeing an increase in cases in younger populations.
In the release, health department officials urged continued following of precautions such as wearing face masks and social distancing. It also said some new variants of the coronavirus are spreading in Illinois.
They also urged people to get vaccinated when possible and the release included a reminder about vaccination clinics Friday and Saturday at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.
The clinics are part of the Illinois National Guard’s “Mobile Outreach Point of Dispensing” program. Registration is available online at https://events.juvare.com/IL-IDPH/0d751a4a-cc7e-4664-bdc7-71ca10787536/.
The new COVID-19 cases announced Wednesday brought the county’s total to 5,594, the news release said.
Of those, four county residents are currently hospitalized and 40 are recovering from the disease, according to the release. Also, 5,456 have recovered and 94 have died from the disease, it said.
State health officials on Wednesday announced 3,790 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 80,628 test results reported over the previous 24 hours, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 4.1%, the highest that figure has stood since Jan. 30.
Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations also increased Wednesday to their highest levels since mid-February.
The increased case positivity numbers and hospitalizations have caused state officials to place a hold on the next steps for reopening that were announced late last month.
In order to move to the “bridge phase” of reopening with higher capacities at events, businesses, and venues, the state must vaccinate at least 70% of the population aged 65 and older, while hospital ICU bed availability needs to be higher than 20% and COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates stable or flat for 28 days.
The state will then be able to move to phase 5 when half of Illinoisans aged 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.