CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois continues to report climbing numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, delaying plans to further loosen virus restrictions statewide.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,592 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as 28 more deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 1,244,585 cases, including 21,301 deaths.

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Illinois is now averaging 2,411 new cases per day over the past week, a 21% increase over one week ago.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate in Illinois stands at 3.3%, a slight decrease from Tuesday, but still up from 2.8% one week ago, and a pandemic-low of 2.1% on March 13.

As of Tuesday night, a total of 1,413 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 294 in the ICU and 123 on ventilators. It’s the first time IDPH has reported more than 1,400 virus hospitalizations in a single day since Feb. 24. Illinois is now averaging 1,341 daily hospitalizations over the past week, a 13% increase over one week ago.

While 70% of the state’s seniors age 65 and older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a key metric for moving to the new “Bridge Phase” of the governor’s reopening plan, with cases and hospitalizations still rising, the state won’t move to lift any current virus restrictions until new cases and hospitalizations stabilize.

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“Health officials continue to urge all residents to continue to mask up, socially distance, and avoid crowds to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to the Bridge Phase,” IDPH said in a statement.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago in particular has seen a sharp rise in new cases in recent weeks, driven particularly by people between the ages of 18 and 39 in the Old Town, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Portage Park, and Old Irving neighborhoods.

Chicago is averaging 498 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, up 37% from one week ago, when the city was averaging 363 new cases per day, and an 89% increase from two weeks ago, when the average was 264 cases per day.

“That’s a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago. That is concerning,” Lightfoot said. “That is obviously dictating that we have to proceed with caution as we open up. We’re not going to see anything more significant in the reopening front until we see those numbers stabilize and start to come down.”

Meantime, a total of 7,307,635 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Illinois since December, and 5,801,871 doses have been administered statewide. As of Tuesday night, a total of 2,161,302 people in Illinois have been fully vaccinated, or 16.96% of the population.

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Illinois is now averaging 109,358 vaccinations per day over the past week, the highest so far during the pandemic.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff