Coronavirus claims 47 more lives in Illinois, highest daily death toll in three months

The virus has now killed at least 8,743 Illinoisans during the pandemic, an average of 44 deaths per day.

SHARE Coronavirus claims 47 more lives in Illinois, highest daily death toll in three months
Nurse Jeanette Averett delivers dinner trays in the COVID-19 unit at Roseland Community Hospital in April.

Nurse Jeanette Averett delivers dinner trays in the COVID-19 unit at Roseland Community Hospital on April 28, during a shift Tuesday in which three patients died of the coronavirus.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Public health officials on Friday announced 47 more people have died of COVID-19 in Illinois, the most lives the virus has claimed in a single day statewide since late June.

The latest victims — ranging in age from their 40s to 90s — come from all corners of the state, spanning Chicago’s suburbs down to Williamson County in southern Illinois, and from Madison County in the Metro East region to Stephenson County in the northwest.

The virus has now killed at least 8,743 Illinoisans over the last 200 days — an average of 44 deaths per day.

While daily death tolls have floated into the 30s in recent weeks, the state had not topped 40 coronavirus fatalities since 63 deaths were confirmed June 24.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health also announced 2,206 more people were confirmed to carry the virus.

Those new cases were confirmed among 72,691 tests — the second-highest ever total submitted to the state — lowering the average statewide testing positivity rate over the last week to 3.4%, the lowest it’s been since July 23.

As a result of the state’s booming increase in testing capacity, infection rates have dipped over the last month following a mid-summer coronavirus resurgence. But experts have warned that the uptick in cases and hospitalizations would ultimately lead to an increase in deaths.

Illinois has averaged about 24 coronavirus deaths per day over the last two weeks, compared to about 17 deaths per day over the first two weeks of August.

The state was averaging more than 100 deaths per day during the worst of the pandemic in mid-May, capped by an all-time worst 191 lives lost May 13.

Over the last six months, almost 5.8 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in Illinois, and 297,646 people have tested positive — about 2.3% of the entire state’s population. Illinois is on pace to surpass 300,000 total cases this weekend. The recovery rate is 96%.

Warning-level counties are marked orange on the map of Illinois.

Warning-level counties are marked orange on the map of Illinois.

Illinois Department of Public Health

Despite encouraging trends in recent weeks, almost a third of the state’s 102 counties are considered to be at a coronavirus warning level. State public health officials said 28 counties are on that list — up from 17 last week — due to a series of “risk indicators” such as increases in infections or hospital admissions.

Officials said college parties, sports teams and other large gatherings are behind outbreaks among young people in those warning-level counties, which are mostly downstate and in north-central Illinois.

“Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings,” the state Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Those counties are Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Massac, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Putnam, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington and Winnebago.

Notably, none of the warning-level counties are within 50 miles of Chicago. The city has held steady at 4.6% positivity while all suburban regions are below 6%.

As of Thursday night, 1,678 Illinois coronavirus patients were hospitalized, with 373 receiving intensive care and 162 on ventilators.

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