CHICAGO (CBS) — Public health officials reported 8,322 new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois on Monday, as well as 47 additional deaths.

It was only the second time in 18 days Illinois has reported fewer than 10,000 new cases of the virus. New case numbers and the state’s seven-day average case positivity rate have been dropping for the past four days, though both still remain vastly higher than they were at the beginning of October.

Illinois is averaging 11,339 new cases per day over the past week, down from an average of 12,384 daily cases the previous week, but more than five times higher than the 2,052 cases per day during the first seven days of October.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate stands at 10.9%, down from as high as 13.2% on Nov. 13, but still more than triple the 3.5% average case positivity rate at the start of October.

Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 664,620 cases, including 11,552 deaths.

As of Sunday night, 6,171 coronavirus patients were being treated in Illinois hospitals, the second highest total so far, behind only the 6,175 COVID hospitalizations two days earlier. Until this weekend, the state’s hospitalization numbers had been climbing steadily for about a month before seeing a slight drop from Friday night to Saturday night, although the total has now gone back up again.

Hospitalizations from the virus are still far higher than early October, and well above the peak of the first surge of the pandemic, when hosptializations topped out at 5,037 patients on April 28.

Illinois is averaging 6,058 coronavirus hospitalizations per day over the last week, more than four times the average of about 1,500 per day at the start of October. During the first wave of the pandemic, the state peaked at an average of 4,822 hospitalizations per day in early May.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff