Illinois’ COVID-19 case total could hit 3,400 statewide by next week: officials

Up to 650 people people might need to be hospitalized next week due to the coronavirus, according to projections from the governor’s office.

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Drive-up testing for COVID-19 at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Friday morning, March 20, 2020.

Drive-up testing for COVID-19 was taking place at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Friday morning, March 20, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Officials announced Friday at least 40 additional people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Cook County, bringing the statewide case total closer to 500. 

But the number of Illinois patients could shoot up to about 3,400 by next week as the coronavirus winds through communities and more testing becomes available, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office.

“If the assumption is made that 20% of these cases are severe, approximately 650 new cases could need hospitalizations,” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement. “Again, this assumes the trajectory will continue as it has this past week.  This is a novel virus and information is rapidly evolving, so estimated projections will likely change.

“Additionally, social distancing measures, such as school closures, work from home, and no in-restaurant dining could change the projection. Because the incubation period is 14 days, anything we do now to disrupt the exposure would take at least two weeks to show any effect,” Abudayyeh said. 

Pritzker’s office had confirmed 422 COVID-19 cases in the state as of Thursday afternoon. The first four deaths in Illinois attributed to the pandemic have occurred this week.

The 40 new Cook County cases were announced through an alert system set up by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s office. 

For informational alerts on Cook County COVID-19 cases, text “alertcook” to 888-777, or call (708) 633-3319 to ask health professionals coronavirus-related questions 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. County employees will also respond to inquiries at ccdph.covid19@cookcountyhhs.org.

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