Another 113 die of COVID-19 in Illinois — as officials wait to see effects of reopening, mass protests

The deaths are a stark reminder that the pandemic is still ravaging the state and country. In total, Illinois has lost 5,525 people to COVID-19. And officials are carefully watching to see what effects Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan will have on the number of new cases and deaths — and also what effect mass protests will have.

SHARE Another 113 die of COVID-19 in Illinois — as officials wait to see effects of reopening, mass protests
The Illinois Department of Public Health revealed on Monday an additional 658 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus raising its total affected population to 128,415.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Illinois officials on Tuesday reported another 113 deaths due to COVID-19, a day after the state saw the lowest daily death count in two months.

The fatalities are a stark reminder that the pandemic is still ravaging the state and other areas across the nation. In total, Illinois has lost 5,525 people to COVID-19. And officials are carefully watching to see what effects Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s gradual reopening plan will have on the number of new cases and deaths — and also what effect crowds of people turning out for mass protests will have on coronavirus cases in the state.

Both Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have urged the thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets to speak out against the death of George Floyd to get tested for COVID-19.

Chicago plans to begin its Phase 3 reopening on Wednesday. But that also comes in the aftermath of violence and looting that has ravaged small businesses in Chicago and in many suburbs. Many of those businesses won’t have the opportunity to reopen.

Another 1,614 new coronavirus cases were reported, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The state has typically reported higher numbers on Tuesdays for both cases and deaths due to slower reporting over the weekend. Ten state-run testing facilities were also closed on Monday as the state reeled in the aftermath of violence and looting. And those testing facilities remained closed on Tuesday, Pritzker’s office said.

There are still 2,364 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals, with 874 of them in intensive care units and 548 on ventilators, according to Pritzker’s office.

The 113 deaths reported on Tuesday came after four days of death counts below 100, including on Monday, when 23 deaths were reported. Monday marked the lowest daily death toll in two months.

The relatively low numbers the last few days came as the state closed out an especially deadly month. May saw a total of 3,083 deaths from COVID-19. That averages out to nearly 100 a day for the month and means 57.2% of the total Illinois deaths from the virus were in May.

The state’s daily positivity rate — the number of positive cases among the total tests returned — was 9.8%, officials said.

Pritzker on Monday said the state-run COVID-19 testing sites would be “temporarily” shutting down due to looting and mass protests.

“It’s one of the unfortunate consequences of what’s happened is we can’t have guardsmen out there unprotected, providing the testing,” Pritzker said. “We can’t have police out there protecting the guardsmen. We’re out there trying to protect the public. And ... it’s impossible at the moment.”

The city on Tuesday said businesses still cleaning up and replenishing merchandise picked clean by looters will reopen at their own pace. But officials will try to help by providing “police presence at grocery stores and pharmacies vital to their communities” and by “directly engaging” with insurance companies to eliminate red tape and speed payment of business claims.

Wednesday’s Chicago reopening will range from hotels and outdoor dining at restaurants, to non-essential retail stores and barbershops and salons. There are still safety requirements attached, including social distancing and face coverings at businesses.

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