CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois continues to see steady improvement in the average COVID-19 infection rate and coronavirus hospitalizations, despite recent upticks in new cases and deaths.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,822 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as well as 107 more deaths.

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Both represent increases over Tuesday’s reported cases and deaths, but COVID testing also has been on the rise the past couple days, so the statewide average 7-day case positivity rate has dropped to 5.5%, the lowest point it’s been since Oct. 20, 2020.

During the second surge of the pandemic in October and November, the state’s case positivity rate peaked at 13.2% on Nov. 13, and other than a two-week rise after Christmas, has dropped steadily ever since.

The recent declines in positivity rates have allowed all but two regions of the state to move out of the state’s most restrictive regional virus mitigation efforts, and five of the state’s 11 regions have been allowed to resume indoor dining. Most of the Chicago area could soon allow indoor dining as well if virus trends in the city and suburbs continue for the next few days.

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Since the start of the pandemic, IDPH has reported a total of 1,081,354 coronavirus cases, including 18,398 deaths.

As of Tuesday night, 3,284 virus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 722 in the ICU and 379 on ventilators. That’s the fewest overall hospitalizations statewide since Oct. 30.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Illinois peaked 6,175 on Nov. 20, although there are still far more COVID-19 patients in the hospital now than at the start of the fall surge in early October, when the state was averaging about 1,500 hospitalizations per day.

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IDPH said a total of 1,388,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Illinois as of Tuesday night, including 864,150 for frontline healthcare workers, and 524,050 for long-term care facilities. So far, a total of 537,740 doses of vaccine have been administered statewide.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff