1,276 new Illinois coronavirus cases, 18 more deaths

Another record-breaking testing day lowered the state’s rolling positivity rate to 2.9%.

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Simple Laboratories phlebotomists draw blood for coronavirus antibody testing in May at the lab’s drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of St. Rosalie Catholic Parish in Harwood Heights.

Simple Laboratories phlebotomists draw blood for coronavirus antibody testing in May at the lab’s drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of St. Rosalie Catholic Parish in Harwood Heights.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Public health officials announced Saturday another 1,276 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Illinois, as another 18 deaths were attributed to COVID-19. 

That marked the state’s fourth straight day with a four-digit daily coronavirus caseload, the longest such stretch since the end of a peak month of May. 

But the new cases were also detected among the latest record-breaking batch of 46,099 test results received by the state, lowering the state’s testing positivity rate over the last week to 2.9%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

That’s good news for officials who have expressed concern over what Gov. J.B. Pritzker called a “mild uptick” in cases over the last three weeks, while outbreaks surge to record highs in many other states. 

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The state has reported an average of about 968 new cases per day so far in July. That’s up from 764 new cases reported per day in June, as the state’s pandemic curve flattened. 

Health officials have attributed Illinois’ uptick to young people in the 18-29 age range — and have urged everyone to remain vigilant by wearing face coverings, washing hands and maintaining social distance. 

The latest deaths included a teenage boy from Cook County, raising the state’s death toll to 7,290 since March. 

A total of 160,610 people have been confirmed infected with the virus among more than 2.2 million who have been tested. The recovery rate is 95%. 

As of Friday night, 1,360 Illinois coronavirus patients were hospitalized, with 326 in intensive care units and 119 on ventilators. 

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