Precautions urged to stop run of four-digit COVID-19 caseloads and ‘prevent us from getting into a very bad spot’

Health officials on Thursday also announced 27 more residents have been killed by the virus, raising the state’s death toll to 7,833.

SHARE Precautions urged to stop run of four-digit COVID-19 caseloads and ‘prevent us from getting into a very bad spot’
An employee guides traffic at a drive-up COVID-19 testing site at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge in March.

An employee guides traffic at a drive-up COVID-19 testing site at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge in March.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Health officials on Thursday announced 1,832 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 across Illinois, another four-digit caseload that has become the norm as the virus flares back up statewide.

Illinois has reported an average of 1,807 new cases per day over the last two weeks, up from an average of 1,063 cases per day this time last month.

The newest cases were confirmed among 51,612 tests submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health, setting a testing record for the state for a second straight day.

It was enough to keep the statewide testing positivity rate over the last week at 4.4%, but that number has increased over the last four weeks even as the nationwide rate has gone down, according to Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

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“We are better than most states — that’s true today, but we are going in the wrong direction,” Ezike said Wednesday. “This is precisely the time that we have to act. We want to prevent us from getting into a very bad spot. We want to be proactive and not be chasing our tail as it spirals out of control.”

The situation has already spiraled up to a 9.4% positivity rate in the downstate Metro East region, prompting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health team to intervene by forcing restaurants and bars to slash capacity to 25% and close by 11 p.m.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks at the COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks at the COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

From BlueRoomStream

The state could soon step in with similar “mitigations” in Will and Kankakee counties, a region that’s now up to 7.5% positivity, just short of the 8% threshold set by the state. The southern Illinois region is in the same boat, at 7.4%.

Chicago is at 5.1% positivity and suburban Cook County at 6.4%.

Officials on Thursday also announced 27 more residents have been killed by the virus, raising the state’s death toll to 7,833 since March.

The latest victims included Cook County men in their 50s and 90s, and a woman in her 70s.

A total of 213,721 people have tested positive for the virus among 3.5 million tested in Illinois.

As of Wednesday night, 1,519 Illinois coronavirus patients were hospitalized, with 357 in intensive care units and 124 on ventilators.

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