Illinois shatters daily coronavirus case record again with 6,161 new infections

Death tolls have been gradually increasing along with surging cases. The state is averaging 42 COVID-19 deaths per day over the last week, double the rate this time last month.

SHARE Illinois shatters daily coronavirus case record again with 6,161 new infections
Gov. J.B. Pritzker pictured at a Sept. 21 press conference in Springfield.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker pictured at a Sept. 21 press conference in Springfield.

AP Photos

Illinois’ coronavirus resurgence took another severe, record-breaking step up Saturday as public health officials announced 6,161 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 statewide.

The stunning case count — which smashed Illinois’ previous daily record by more than 1,200 cases, set just two days earlier — was confirmed among 83,517 tests.

That means 7.4% of the latest tests submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health came back positive, the highest proportion of infections confirmed in a single day since the beginning of June.

And it sent the statewide average seven-day testing positivity rate up half a percentage point to 6.1%. That number, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, hadn’t topped 6% in over four months.

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

With case counts soaring, hospital beds filling and numbers trending in the wrong direction across the board over the last month, Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike made a tearful plea on Friday for residents and businesses to follow the basic health guidelines that officials have been pushing throughout the pandemic.

“I’m looking for someone to tell me what the message is, so that we can do what it takes to turn this around,” Ezike said. “The virus has caused this, and instead of pitting one group against another, we need to get that and fight against the virus, and we can do that.

“We don’t have the vaccine yet. But we have a mask, and we’re asking people to use that and I don’t know what else we can say,” Ezike said.

Officials also announced 63 more deaths in Illinois have been attributed to COVID-19, including a Cook County woman in her 40s.

Death tolls have been gradually increasing along with the surging cases. The state is averaging 42 deaths per day over the last week, double the rate this time last month.

And the fatality rate is poised to keep rising. More than 2,600 hospital beds were taken up by coronavirus patients Friday night, the most being treated since early June.

Most people who contract the virus show mild or no symptoms, with a 97% recovery rate in Illinois. But experts say COVID-19 does its worst damage after it spreads from healthy, young people to older people with underlying health conditions.

Overall, the virus has claimed 9,481 lives in Illinois. Nursing homes account for a little over half the death toll, with 5,019 of the 33,440 cases tied to long-term care facilities proving fatal.

To stem the viral flareup, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has implemented indoor dining bans at bars and restaurants in four of the state’s 11 regions, including many of Chicago’s south and west suburbs. Other regions are on pace to rise to the 8% positivity threshold that triggers Pritzker’s business restrictions within the next week.

Chicago has jumped by a full percentage point in under a week to 7.3% positivity, while suburban Cook County is at 7.5% and the Lake-McHenry County region is at 7.8%.

The indoor dining ban went into effect Friday in the DuPage-Kane County region (9.4%) and the Will-Kankakee County region (9.3%).

Since March, nearly 7.2 million coronavirus tests have been administered in the state, with 370,194 confirmed to carry the virus — about 2.9% of Illinois’ population.

The Latest
A man was shot while driving Tuesday afternoon in the 8000 block of South South Shore Drive when a suspect approached him on foot and fired shots.
The man was lying on the ground in the 400 block of North Wabash Avenue when he was attacked early Wednesday, police said.
Man wishes his bride hadn’t brought home pictures and videos from the bawdy bash because he keeps comparing himself to the hunky performers.
It was a bleak picture painted by the half of the GOP primary field — venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, businessman Gary Rabine and state Sen. Darren Bailey — who squared off during a live debate hosted by WGN-TV.