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Illinois’ coronavirus-related death toll surpasses 8,600

State health officials also announced 1,604 new coronavirus cases Sunday.

Workers check in residents at a mobile COVID-19 testing site set up on a vacant lot in the Austin neighborhood on June 23, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
State health officials on Sunday announced 1,604 new coronavirus cases and an additional 14 deaths.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared Aug. 29 a “solemn day” after Illinois health officials reported more than 8,000 people had succumbed to the coronavirus.

Nearly a month later, the state reached another troubling milestone.

Illinois’ coronavirus death toll surpassed 8,600 on Sunday, with state health officials announcing an additional 14 deaths.

Perhaps even more concerning is should the state’s average daily death toll continue, Illinois could see more than 10,000 people die of the respiratory virus by the end of this year.

This month, Illinois is averaging about 21 coronavirus-related deaths each day — up from the roughly 17 fatalities the state averaged in August. Should that current average continue, Illinois is on track for more than 10,500 deaths by Dec. 31, 2020.

Sunday’s fatalities — half of which were reported in Cook County — brings the state’s total 8,601 deaths. Almost 45% of those deaths occurred to people 80 years of age or older.

State health officials also announced 1,604 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 287,930.

The new infections were found among the latest batch of 50,822 tests reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day, raising the state’s seven-day positivity rate — a figure experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading — to 3.7%. Last weekend, that number was 3.5%.

Though almost 2,000 new cases have been added per day this month, positivity rates have decreased across most of the state thanks to booming testing numbers. As of Thursday, Chicago is at 4.6% positivity, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Meanwhile, its surrounding regions check in at 5.4% or below.

Hospitalization dipped slightly since Friday. As of Saturday night, 1,486 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, with 350 of those patients in intensive care units and 144 on ventilators, officials said.

The vast majority of Illinois’ COVID-19 patients — about 96% — have recovered. Most people who contract it show mild or no symptoms.