The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) reported 5,848 new COVID-19 infections in its coverage area on Dec. 30, more than doubling the single-day high from the pandemic’s previous peak and driving home just how unparalleled the current surge of the virus has become.

The staggering numbers of new cases in the last week caused the seven-day rolling average of new infections in the county to rise above 4,300 by the end of the year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of tests returning a positive result has also jumped dramatically, with a 14.8% test positivity rate during the last week of December, even as record numbers of tests are being conducted.

A chart showing new COVID-19 infections provided by the Cook County Department of Public Health on Jan. 4, 2021.

Despite the increase in case numbers, vaccinated individuals remain largely protected against serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that people who are unvaccinated are five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from the virus, as of October.

The CCDPH does not release daily case counts by village, but Forest Park has now reported 2,044 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic and nonspecific data shows the village’s three-week moving average of new COVID-19 infections reached a pandemic high on Jan. 1. That graph has been trending dramatically and steadily upward since mid-November. Forest Park has reported a 214% increase in new cases in the last two weeks, according to the CCDPH.

Fortunately, Forest Parkers also remain vaccinated at rates ahead of the county and state averages. As of Jan. 4, 84.4% of Forest Park residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 63.4% were fully vaccinated.

Thirty-five Forest Park residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including three in December and one more on Jan. 3.