The surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly transmissable Delta variant may have reached a plateau, locally and statewide, although Homewood lost two more residents to the disease since Sept. 3.
One, Cherie Garza, a former Homewood District 153 teacher, died on Sept. 13, four days after her 40th birthday.
Garza's illness received some media attention because she was unvaccinated, and her family hoped her situation would motivate others to get one of vaccines available, each of which has proven effective at reducing the chance of infection and preventing serious illness and death in those who subsequently are infected.
Her visitation and funeral will be on Oct. 2 at Tews-Ryan Funeral Home in Homewood.
Total deaths from COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began is 57 in Homewood, 16 in Flossmoor.
Case rates remain high but are no longer increasing each week, according to state and county health officials.
In the past week, Homewood passed 2,000 cases since the pandemic began, which means more than 10% of residents have been infected by the virus that causes COVID-19. There were 33 more new cases last week, 20 fewer than the previous week.
Flossmoor also saw the rate of new cases slow, with 20 new cases versus 35 the week before. Flossmoor has had 970 cases since the pandemic began, also more than 10% of the population.
For the second week in a row, Illinois saw fewer new cases than the previous week. There were 25,956 new cases from Sept. 10 through Sept. 16, compared to 26,062 the previous week. The surge might have peaked the week of Aug. 27 through Sept. 2, with 30,319 cases.
The death toll statewide last week was 285, the highest number since the surge began. Death toll trends are typically a few weeks behind case trends.
Vaccination rates continue to slowly increase. The Illinois Department of Public Heralth reported on Friday, Sept. 17, that More than 80% of Illinois adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and almost 63% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the state's total population, more than 67% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 52% is fully vaccinated.
In Homewood, 69.5% of the population have received at least one dose, and 57.6% are fully vaccinated. In Flossmoor, the rates are 75.1% and 61.8%.
The statewide and Cook County positivity rate was 4.1%. The state figure was 4.5% the previous week.
State officials note that all data are provisional and will change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19.
To find a COVID-19 vaccination location, go to www.vaccines.gov.