ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Federal and state health officials said they are seeing improvement in Illinois’ COVID-19 statistics, with the number of counties at elevated transmission levels down from last week and no increase in hospitalizations.

The CDC’s latest map of COVID-19 transmission levels per county shows 28 of Ilinois’ 102 counties are at an elevated level for COVID, compared to 61 counties last week. These 28 counties are mostly clustered in the southern tip of the state as well as in the northern corners.

Three counties – Hancock in the western central region and Hamilton and White in the southeast region – are listed in the high level; there were five counties listed in the high level last week. 25 counties are listed in the medium level, compared to 56 last week.

Almost the entire central Illinois region is listed in the low level, with Iroquois County being the sole exception in the medium level.

“I am encouraged to see COVID-19 community levels continuing to decrease across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “Rates of the XBB ‘Kraken’ variant, spreading throughout the East Coast, are slowly increasing in the Midwest, and we continue to monitor this new variant closely. However, we are fortunate at this time to see no increase in hospitalizations. IDPH is continuing to focus our efforts on preserving hospital capacity and protecting those Illinois residents most at risk for severe disease from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported approximately 11,000 new confirmed and probable cases in the state during the week ending Jan. 15, with 78 deaths. As of Thursday, 1,220 Illinoisans are in the hospital with COVID, with 151 of in the ICU and 57 on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 86 cases per 100,000 people.

Illinoisans are reminded that 1 million at-home antigen tests are available for up to 200,000 households and can be requested on a first come, first serve basis. Free or low-cost testing is also available throughout the state, as are bivalent COVID vaccines that protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant.