CHICAGO (CBS) — Public health officials reported 5,059 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois on Monday, along with 79 additional deaths, as the state’s infection rate has been climbing steadily for the past week.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported a total of 984,880 coronavirus cases, including 16,834 deaths.

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The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate now stands at 8.6%, and has been climbing gradually for the past week, after steadily dropping from mid-November through mid-December. During the second surge of the virus this fall, the state’s case positivity rate peaked at 13.2%, and fell as low as 6.8% on the two days after Christmas.

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It’s unclear, however, if the climbing positivity rate is a sign of a post-holiday surge in cases, or a factor of decreased testing during the holidays. IDPH reported an average of 89,906 tests per day in the seven days leading up to Christmas, but the state has averaged only 70,530 tests per day over the past week.

As of Sunday night, 3,948 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 816 in the ICU and 471 on ventilators. COVID hospitalizations in Illinois have now been below 4,000 for four days in a row. Hospitalizations haven’t been that low since early November, though they’re still more than double the average of 1,500 per day at the start of October, when the fall surge began.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff