State’s daily coronavirus death toll reaches two month low: ‘What we’re seeing right now is a good trend’

A total of 23 new coronavirus deaths were reported Monday in Illinois. The last time the state’s daily death tally fell below two dozen was on April 2, when 16 deaths were reported.

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In a Friday, May 1, 2020 photo, phlebotomist Crystal Bovan, with Simple Laboratories, collects a nasopharyngeal swab sample to test for the coronavirus for a man at the lab’s drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of St. Rosalie Catholic Parish in Harwood Heights, Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) ORG XMIT: ILCHS103

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State health officials on Monday announced 974 new coronavirus cases and 23 new deaths — the first time the daily death toll fell below the two dozen mark in nearly two months.

With Monday’s new figures, Illinois has registered a total of 121,234 cases, including 5,412 deaths.

The last time the state’s daily tally was under two dozen was April 2, when 16 deaths were reported.

However, the state was ramping up testing at the time, and it’s possible the number of deaths would have been higher had more testing been in place, health officials acknowledged.

The state’s daily death tally peaked May 13 at 192 deaths.

The daily number of new cases peaked the day before, May 12, at 4,014.

“What we’re seeing right now is a good trend,” Illinois Department of Public Health spokesman Melaney Arnold told the Sun-Times Monday afternoon, after the latest numbers were released. “But we still have to continue to be vigilant. The virus has not changed, it’s still out there.”

A total of about 6% of the people tested in Illinois between May 25 through May 31 tested positive for coronavirus, health officials said.

The testing rate for the one-day figures released Monday was 4.87% — but health officials cautioned against putting too much stock in single day’s positivity rate. Numbers over a week’s time carry more weight. 

“We typically do have low numbers on Monday because specimen collection is not as numerous over the weekend, and labs don’t always report on the weekend,” Arnold said. 

On Monday, laboratories reported 20,014 tests, adding to a statewide total of 918,273.

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