Coronavirus live blog, August 30, 2020: Illinois surpasses 4 million tested for COVID-19
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Illinois reached another milestone Sunday, surpassing 4 million coronavirus tests as COVID-19 cases continue to rise as part of a month-long trend.
State health officials on Sunday announced 1,992 new coronavirus cases and 11 additional deaths.
Sunday marked the 40th consecutive day Illinois has recorded a four-digit daily caseload. This month, the state has recorded 2,000 or more cases in a day eight times.
Illinois is averaging about 1,817 new infections each day this month, up sharply from July’s daily average of 1,150.
The newest infections announced Sunday, which bring the state’s total to 233,355 cases over the last seven months, were detected among the latest batch of 43,693 tests processed in the last day, keeping the state’s seven-day positivity rate to 4.2%.
In February, Illinois became the first state to run its own COVID-19 tests. Since then, it has processed 4,016,782 tests. In the last month alone, the state has processed more than 1.3 coronavirus tests, reporting an average of 43,907 test results every 24 hours.
12:52 p.m. State and local officials make accommodations to ensure voters are safe
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.
Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.
Here are virus-related obstacles voters could face during this unprecedented presidential election year along with some of the solutions being tried:
10:10 a.m. Voting groups look for digital solutions to reach young voters during pandemic
RALEIGH, N.C. — Chase Gaines wishes he could get more young people in North Carolina to answer their front doors and take his GOP flyer.
Rick Hart longs for the days where he would wake up at 6 a.m. to prep for a day of campaigning in the streets of Atlanta to persuade his classmates to elect Democrats.
The two college students are on opposite ends of the political universe but facing the same challenge: reaching young voters when campuses are empty and students are scattered across the country.
“The pandemic really did hit us significantly,” said Hart, an unpaid student volunteer at Morehouse College who was working in Georgia on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, but is now back at his parents’ home in Laurel, Maryland. “The country kind of came to a shut down and we were like, ‘What do we do next?’”
Campaigns, advocacy groups and registration organizations say they’re still struggling to answer that question — and looking for creative, largely digital, solutions.
9 a.m. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, officials are urging people to take precautions more seriously
With 11 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 by public health officials on Saturday, Illinois’ coronavirus death toll has climbed to 8,008.
Since a South Side woman became the state’s first resident known to succumb to the virus March 16, COVID-19 has killed an average of about 48 Illinoisans per day over that five-month stretch.
And with cases on the rise again statewide, officials are urging people to take health precautions more seriously to help save lives.
“Today is a solemn day in Illinois as we’ve now lost 8,000 lives to COVID-19,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “As we mourn the family, friends and neighbors who have been taken too soon, let’s do our part to prevent more senseless tragedy. Wear a mask. Watch your distance. Wash your hands. Every action counts.”
7:15 a.m. Masks in public restrooms? Urinals may shoot ‘plumes’ of inhalable coronavirus particles into the air
Wearing a mask in public restrooms should be mandatory during the pandemic, researchers say, because there’s increasing evidence that flushing toilets – and now urinals – can release inhalable coronavirus particles into the air.
The coronavirus can be found in a person’s urine or stool, and flushing urinals can generate an “alarming upward flow” of particles that “travel faster and fly farther” than particles from a toilet flush, according to a study published in the journal Physics of Fluid Monday.
“Urinal flushing indeed promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses,” researcher Xiangdong Liu said in a press release. “Wearing a mask should be mandatory within public restrooms during the pandemic, and anti-diffusion improvements are urgently needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Liu and other researchers from Yangzhou University in China simulated urinal flushing using computer models and estimated that, within just five seconds of flushing, virus particles could reach a height of more than 2 feet off the ground.
6:52 a.m. Coronavirus put more cyclists on downstate Illinois trails
Stores haven’t faced this serious of a bike shortage since a 1970s boom driven by environmental concerns, and metro-east trails are busier than ever.
Bicycle sales soared in March of this year, when the coronavirus closed gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons and other businesses. State officials designated bike shops as “essential” parts of the transportation industry and allowed them to stay open.
“(Biking is) a way to keep active, and a lot of folks have had this newfound time on their hands,” said Jon Greenstreet, co-owner of a O’Fallon bike shop.
Many big-box stores have been sold out of bicycles since April because they only carry lower-priced basic models that are popular with newcomers, Greenstreet said. One supplier told him that his inventory for the whole year was depleted in a week.
- Claudio Velez, Chicago’s beloved ‘Tamale Guy,’ in intensive care with COVID-19
- Another 481 COVID-19 cases found at University of Alabama.
- Illinois public health officials announced 1,707 COVID-19 cases in the state Thursday and 24 deaths attributed to the virus statewide.
- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 390 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in intensive care units across the state as of Wednesday night, the highest number of people receiving critical care due to the virus since June 29.
- Of those, 151 patients were on ventilators, the most since July 28.
- Those numbers are still well within Illinois’ overall hospital capacity, accounting for about 10% of the state’s ICU beds and 3% of its ventilators.
- More than half of the deaths reported so far this year in Cook County were related to COVID-19 — 5,030 as of Wednesday, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Analysis & Commentary
7:29 a.m. Pritzker did not handle Metro East pandemic mitigation well
When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state COVID-19 “mitigation” plan for the Metro East on Aug. 16, he said it was done in conjunction “with local officials in the Metro East region and across the border in St. Louis.”
Last week, though, the governor admitted the cross-border arrangement to try to contain the virus’ spread was a “mistake.”
Man, was it ever.
Instead of sticking to the state’s original mitigation plan, which would’ve included things like reducing indoor restaurant capacity and shutting down all indoor bar service, Pritzker only ordered bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m., which was in line with what St. Louis was planning at the time.