Illinois reports more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases, most since late May

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Health officials reported more than 1,700 new cases of coronavirus disease have been confirmed in Illinois over the past day Thursday, the biggest single-day increase in cases since May 24.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 1,772 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past 24 hours, while over 41,000 tests were performed.

This is the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases since May 24, when officials reported 2,508 new cases and 25,674 tests performed, while the statewide positivity rate at the time was 12 percent.

As of Thursday, Illinois’ statewide positivity rate from July 23-29 remains at 3.8 percent, while 10 of the 11 regions established in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan have seen an increase in their positivity rates over at least six days of a 10-day period ending on July 27. The state “warning” level is seven days with an increase.

Speaking Thursday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said cases of young people under 29 years old have been rising in particular, with sources of spread including large social gatherings and between household members.

While he said Illinois has performed better than surrounding states, Pritzker called on residents to wear masks and follow other social distancing guidelines to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“It doesn’t take long to see that trajectory of success turn around and right now things are not heading in the right direction,” Pritzker said.

Two downstate areas in the plan, the Metro East region outside of St. Louis and the Southern region, reported positivity rates of 7.7 percent and 6.3 percent respectively as of July 27. They are the closest in the state to the 8 percent threshold at which state mitigation measures would be put in place.

Hospital capacities in every region and statewide remain within the limits established in the state’s plan, with 1,452 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 353 in intensive care and 149 on ventilators.

Pritzker announced new restrictions for youth and adult recreational sports Wednesday. The guidelines limit competitive play and in some cases restrict sports to non-contact practices only, depending on the amount of contact between athletes.

Pritzker cited an increase in coroanvirus cases statewide, particularly among young people, as the reason for the new restrictions will be put in place starting August 15. Health officials said they could be modified depending on whether COVID-19 cases continue to rise, or begin declining again.

Following Pritzker’s announcement, the IHSA released its plan for all high school sports to have seasons in Illinois over the coming school year, although seasons will be condensed and some fall sports like football, volleyball and boy’s soccer will be moved to the spring.

U.S. officials reported Thursday the country’s economy shrank at a dizzying 33 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, making it the worst quarterly plunge in history.

More than 1.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, further evidence of the devastation the coronavirus outbreak has unleashed on the U.S. economy.

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