Illinois records 1,562 new COVID-19 cases, 18 additional deaths

The state continued its nearly month-long trend of four-digit caseloads Sunday as state health officials announced another 1,562 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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A lab technician cleans a test tube containing a live sample taken from people tested for the novel coronavirus at a facility in Scotland.

State health officials on Sunday announced another 1,562 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Illinois continued its nearly month-long trend of four-digit caseloads Sunday as state health officials announced another 1,562 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Illinois is averaging roughly 1,702 new cases each day this month. That’s about 550 new infections per day compared to July, when an average of 1,150 new cases were being confirmed daily.

This increase has been a cause of concern for Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who have repeatedly said they’re worried the state is heading in the wrong direction. Since reshuffling his reopening plan in July, Pritzker has warned people that if a region surpasses certain thresholds for metrics, including percentage of people testing positive, hospital capacity and rising hospital admissions, then officials will choose to tighten restrictions.

The first region to experience a roll back in its reopening is the Metro East region, which has surpassed an 8% positivity rate for three consecutive days.

Starting Tuesday, the Metro East region, which includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties, will have to follow tighter restrictions, which will mainly affect bars, restaurants and social gatherings. Under the new mitigation requirements, bars and restaurants will have to close by 11 p.m. There will be no party buses and all reception halls will be closed. Group gatherings will be limited to just 25 people or 25% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.

State and public health officials have attributed the recent uptick in cases to outbreaks among young people, especially 20- to 29-year-olds who account for nearly 19% of the state’s 206,081 total cases.

The vast majority of COVID-19 patients — about 95% — have recovered.

The new infections announced Sunday account for roughly 4.2% of the 37,089 test results reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health over the last day. That raises the state’s testing positivity rate over the last week at 4.1% — the same percentage as last Sunday.

The state has processed more than 3.3 million tests in the last six months.

Health officials on Sunday also announced 18 more Illinois residents have succumbed to the respiratory virus, raising the statewide death toll to 7,744.

Cook County accounted for half of Sunday’s fatalities, which included a Cook County woman in her 30s.

Hospitalizations crept up slightly from Friday. As of Saturday night, 1,581 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, officials said. Of those patients, 345 were in intensive care units and 116 on ventilators.

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