Illinois announces 67 more coronavirus deaths as state inches toward Phase 3 reopening

The deaths and 2,508 new cases were announced on the same day Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled specific guidelines for more businesses to open in coming days.

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A medical worker conducts a COVID-19 drive-thru test earlier this month.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Another 67 Illinois residents have died of COVID-19, state officials announced Sunday, increasing the state’s pandemic death toll to 4,856.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also processed 25,674 new tests and identified 2,508 new cases, bringing the state’s total case count — although many have recovered — to 110,304.

That represents a 9.7% statewide test positivity rate, lowering the state’s rolling seven-day positivity rate to 12%. The rate in the Northeast Region — which includes Cook County — was 15% on Sunday.

The state has now tested nearly 748,000 people, and COVID-19 has been found in 100 of its 102 counties. Hospitalization levels for coronavirus patients remained flat Sunday.

In Cook County, the deaths included one woman in her 20s and two men in their 30s, even though the virus generally poses a greater threat to older people.

The new numbers were disclosed shortly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new specific guidelines for businesses and activities planning to reopen when the state progresses to the third phase of the “Restore Illinois” plan in the coming days.

Pritzker said his administration consulted more than 200 people representing different sectors of the economy to formulate the guidelines, which can be found in detail here.

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” Pritzker said in a release. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses ... will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority.”

Retail stores, offices, manufacturing plants, barbershops and salons, recreation activities and bars and restaurants — albeit for outdoor dining only — are among the businesses that will be permitted to reopen with restrictions.

The entire state is expected to progress to the third phase when the current stay-at-home order expires Friday, although Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said Chicago bars and restaurants specifically will need a little bit longer.

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