Illinois announces 19 additional coronavirus deaths, lowest single-day total since April 2

The state also announced Sunday that 672 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

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A phlebotomist collects a nasopharyngeal swab sample to test for coronavirus in Harwood Heights last month.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

For the first time in more than two months, Illinois has recorded a day with fewer than 20 new coronavirus deaths.

Public health officials announced Sunday an additional 19 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state’s pandemic death toll to 6,308.

Although numbers are usually lower on weekends due to a lack of reporting, Sunday’s data is still the lowest the state has seen since April 2, when 16 deaths were announced. The state announced 29 new deaths Saturday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also said an additional 672 people tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the state’s total case count to 132,543; the vast majority have since recovered.

Officials found those new cases among 22,040 new processed tests, representing a continuation of the state’s extremely low rolling positivity rate — 3% — over the past seven days.

Illinois’ encouraging new milestone in daily deaths comes as some states across the country report substantially increasing death and case counts.

A Fortune magazine analysis — published Friday and touted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Saturday — found that 26 of the 50 U.S. states had seen their COVID-19 cases stay flat or increase over the past 14 days, contradicting the popular sentiment the pandemic is fading away.

But the report found that Illinois had seen the largest decrease in cases of any state.

That positive trend is likely at least in part due to high testing availability; nearly 1.2 million people have been tested statewide, and Illinois ranks 10th among the 50 states in coronavirus tests per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Hospital numbers are also down: 562 COVID-19 patients occupied ICU beds as of Saturday night, with 328 on ventilators.

Data released Saturday by the state health department show 3,433 of the state’s coronavirus deaths — roughly 55% of the total — have come from long-term care facilities.

All regions of the state remain on track to qualify for Phase 4 of Pritzker’s reopening plan on June 26, which would permit more reopenings. Chicago officials have said the city will likely target more openings for July 1.

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