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3,629 more Illinois coronavirus cases as positivity rate rises again

Illinois has logged almost 47,000 cases so far in October, more than double its figure for the entire month of June. 

People get tested for COVID-19 at the drive-thru testing site at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy last week in Little Village.
People get tested for COVID-19 at the drive-thru testing site at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy last week in Little Village.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Illinois’ coronavirus testing positivity rate inched up for a 13th consecutive day Saturday as 3,629 more residents tested positive for COVID-19.

That’s almost a thousand fewer cases than the record-breaking tally of 4,554 announced by public health officials a day earlier, but it’s still the state’s fourth highest count of the pandemic.

Experts warn Illinois is on the brink of a severe coronavirus flareup rivaling its initial peak of the pandemic in May, as cases also soar to record highs in neighboring Midwest states. Illinois has logged almost 47,000 cases so far in October, more than double its figure for the entire month of June.

While hefty case numbers don’t tell the full story, the latest cases were confirmed among 77,489 tests, raising the statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate once again to 5.2%.

That number indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, and it’s as high as it’s been since early June, shooting up nearly two full percentage points since Oct. 4.

“We’re in a new wave of COVID-19: rising cases, rising positivity, all across the nation — not just Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Saturday also announced the virus has claimed 27 more lives statewide, raising the death toll to 9,192.

The virus typically preys on older people with underlying health conditions, but a Cook County woman in her 20s was among the latest fatalities.

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for more than half the state’s deaths, with 28,189 cases traced to them and 4,617 of those proving fatal.

Most people who contract the virus show mild symptoms. The recovery rate in Illinois is 97%.

While the state’s hospitals are still well within capacity, they’re treating more coronavirus patients than they have since mid-June. As of Friday night, 2,073 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 422 of them requiring intensive care and 165 using ventilators.

Since March, nearly 6.7 million coronavirus tests have been administered and almost 340,000 people have been confirmed to carry the virus. An additional 260 deaths and 3,587 infections are considered to have been probable but untested cases of COVID-19.