New weekly COVID cases reported at long-term care facilities down by 70%

In an Illinois COVID update, state health officials reported 1,484 new coronavirus cases and 19 deaths Sunday.

Video Transcript

- Tonight, signs of hope in the fight against COVID-19 for some of Illinois' most vulnerable people. State data reviewed by the ABC 7 data team showing overall the number of new weekly coronavirus cases reported at long-term care facilities is down 70% compared to the start of the year. New weekly COVID deaths reported at those facilities, which include nursing homes, are down 40% over that same stretch.

EMILY LANDON: For now, I think you have to look at the trend overall is definitely better than where it was and that is largely to do because of vaccinations.

- Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious diseases specialist with the University of Chicago Medicine, cautioning that does not mean we're in the clear. As of today it, IDPH says less than a third of Illinoisans 65 and older have been fully vaccinated.

EMILY LANDON: We still have a long way to go before we've actually protected the people at greatest risk.

- But for assisted living residents who are fully vaccinated, like 99-year-old Gerald Goodman, an injection of confidence that the World War II D-Day vet can be with family safely for the first time in months.

GERALD GOODMAN: It means everything because my legacy is my family.

- For many, those reunions still just beyond reach. Dr. Landon encouraging less vulnerable people to still get vaccinated, even if their loved ones have already had their shots.

EMILY LANDON: That there's less opportunities to get more variants or escape variants that might be able to overcome the vaccine.

- And Dr. Landon says that also means less transmission to people who are still waiting for the vaccine or who may have less protection from their own inoculation.