46 more Illinois deaths reported as daily COVID-19 case count hits 2,341

The state received 13,834 tests results Sunday. Monday’s new case count of 2,341 brings the state tally to 63,840 positive cases. The state now has lost 2,664 people to COVID-19.

SHARE 46 more Illinois deaths reported as daily COVID-19 case count hits 2,341
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with elected and health officials, is shown in March during a daily update on the coronavirus situation in Illinois.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, along with elected and health officials, have been offering daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic and what Illinois is doing to respond.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Officials on Monday said another 46 people have died of coronavirus in Illinois —marking two days in which the state has seen less than 100 deaths per day.

But it remains unclear whether that lower death rate will stick. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has said the state will remain in a death peak through early May, with 50 to 150 deaths projected every day.

And with an uptick in test results, the state has seen more than 2,000 daily coronavirus cases a day.

In total, the state received 13,834 test results Sunday. Monday’s new case count is 2,341 cases, bringing Illinois’ total to 63,840 positive cases. With the 46 deaths reported Monday, the state has lost 2,662 people to COVID-19.

The virus is in 97 of the state’s 102 counties.

Of the state’s lower death total, the Democratic governor said at Monday’s daily briefing he’s “hopeful,” but cautious.

“I would just encourage everybody to look at these things on a multi-day basis, taking maybe a three-, a five-, or a seven-day average,” Pritzker said. “I’m hopeful. When I saw this number today I was hopeful that this was the beginning or a continuation of a trend that I’ve been praying for. But I think one day is not a helpful number to look at.”

Hospitalization numbers have remained relatively flat, according to health officials. And both Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday announced the McCormick Place alternate care facility will be largely disassembled. The governor said a total of about 30 patients were being treated there.

Pritzker has said he wants to see 14 days of declining hospitalizations and new cases before more parts of the state could reopen — and the state’s economy could ramp back up.

On April 5, there were 3,680 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals; on April 12, 4,091; on April 19, 4,599; on April 26, 4,672 and as of midnight last night, there were 4,493 patients.

As of Sunday, there were 933 available ICU beds available in the state, although that availability varies by region. In Chicago, Cook County and the collar counties, there are 186 ICU beds available.

On Monday, Pritzker was asked if he would be releasing details of his reopening plan prior to May 30, the last day of the stay-at-home extension. The governor offered a vague response but said the plan is in the works.

“We’ve certainly been thinking about this and working on it for some time now, to make sure that we’re getting to give people a view into how the phases might work and how many phases there are and what would work in each phase,” Pritzker said

The governor also said completion of the state’s nearly $80 million contact tracing program, which he announced last week, is not a prerequisite to reopening.

Pritzker was also asked about large gatherings. With Mother Nature delivering pleasant weather over the weekend, Chicago’s decks and backyards were crowded. In Chicago, police worked to disperse several large parties.

Asked if dispersal is enough to deter the gatherings, the governor said local law enforcement should decide whether to make arrests.

“We’re asking them to disperse. That’s the most important thing. We just don’t want people getting sick,” Pritzker said. “It’s not an intention that people will go to jail. And I’m not suggesting that that’s the best answer, the first answer, but it is something that’s an option for local law enforcement.”

And he warned even asymptomatic people should “stay away from people who you have not already been in close contact with.”

“Just because you are asymptomatic does not mean that you do not have coronavirus,” Pritzker says. “Stay away from your elderly relatives in particular. Don’t quarantine together with people that you haven’t already been around.”

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