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Illinois loses another 39 to COVID-19 as state advances to next phase of reopening

An additional 857 newly confirmed cases were also reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In total, the state has seen 140,291 positive cases. The preliminary seven-day positivity rate is 3%.

Nurse practitioner Capri Reese talks to a patient and holds her hand while a doctor administers an IV at Roseland Community Hospital in April.
Nurse practitioner Capri Reese talks to a patient and holds her hand while a doctor administers an IV at Roseland Community Hospital in April.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times file

As the state moves into Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan — and a number of states see upticks in coronavirus cases — public health officials on Friday said another 39 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois.

An additional 857 newly confirmed cases were also reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In total, the state has seen 140,291 positive cases. The preliminary seven-day positivity rate is 3%. That’s a metric being used to monitor any major increases in cases.

Friday also marked the second day Illinois saw more than 30,000 test results. The state has performed nearly 1.5 million tests since the pandemic began.

The additional deaths and infections are on par with numbers from Thursday. That day’s 894 new cases was the most on any day since June 6, but still far short of the numbers reported during the peak month of May.

Nurse Jeanette Averett comforts a 56-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19 who was struggling with anxiety because of her non-invasive ventilator at Roseland Community Hospital on the Far South Side in April.
Nurse Jeanette Averett comforts a 56-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19 who was struggling with anxiety because of her non-invasive ventilator at Roseland Community Hospital on the Far South Side in April.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

The 39 additional deaths bring the state’s total to 6,847 since the first casualty in mid-March, but they also keep June on a downward trend. Just 1,470 of the deaths, or 21.5%, were reported this month. And the average daily death tally for June is just over 56, compared to nearly 100 for the peak month of May or nearly 68 over the course of the pandemic.

Some other states are seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases, including California, Texas, Florida, Alabama and Missouri.

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state’s public health director, is in frequent talks with her counterparts in other states. Ezike also is monitoring COVID-19 in surrounding states. And Pritzker is in regular discussions with Democratic Midwestern governors. But there are no immediate plans to try to limit travel to surrounding states.

Friday marked the first day Illinoisans could eat inside restaurants, head to gyms, and go to movie theaters, museums and zoos. The latest reopening phase allows for gatherings of up to 50 people to resume, including weddings, funerals and conferences.

The state on Friday also released public health guidelines for swimming pools, water parks, splash pads and beaches, which are allowed to open at a maximum of 50% capacity in Phase 4.

Swimming facilities are required to maintain social distancing guidelines and must also sanitize all equipment, including rafts, tubes and lounge chairs. And operators are advised to limit group sizes to no more than 50 people.

Face coverings should be worn by operators, employees and customers when not swimming. And pools and water parks are advised to conduct temperature checks on employees and customers when entering the facility, under the new guidelines.

“There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water in pools and water playgrounds,” Ezike said in a statement. “However, the virus can still spread between people while in the pool, playing at a water park, or in a spa. Make sure to keep your distance from other people, especially if waiting in line or sitting around the pool.”

Pritzker on Thursday warned that the state could see some restrictions reinstated should the state see a reversal of the downward trend it’s experiencing in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.