Illinois surpasses 6 million COVID-19 tests, as state reports second highest death toll in three months

Chicago News

A healthcare worker administers a coronavirus test for a motorist at a drive through Covid-19 testing center at M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism on September 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said 42 additional coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past day Wednesday, reporting the second-highest daily death toll since late June as the state passes six million tests performed to date.

The figures reported Wednesday is the second time in a week Illinois has confirmed more than 40 coronavirus-related deaths after state health officials reported 47 deaths on October 2, and is the second-highest total since 64 deaths were reported on June 24.

While the two-week average of deaths has ranged between a low of about 15 and a high of about 20 a day since mid-July, data compiled by WGN shows, this average has risen over the past few days to reach 26 as of Wednesday.

Speaking virtually from his home where he is self-isolating after a staffer tested positive for the virus, Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois is nearing an average of 60,000 tests a day as it passes the milestone of six million total tests to date.

Illinois ranks ninth in the country in the number tests compared to its population, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, logging 46,524 tests per 100,000 residents.

Illinois health officials said 2,630 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported over the past day, posting the biggest single-day increase since September 5, when there were 2,806 new confirmed cases. Data shows the 7-day average of cases is currently around 2,000 a day.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the COVID-19 positivity rate from September 30 – October 6 came in at 3.5 percent, near the level it has been at since early September.

While positivity rates in most of the regions created in the “Restore Illinois” plan have been stable or declining in recent weeks, Pritzker said the trend “has cooled” as of Wednesday.

Pritzker said three regions currently sit at a stable rate, while the North Suburban and Southern regions flipped from increasing to decreasing positivity rates in recent days.

And while additional mitigation measures remain in effect across northwest Illinois counties included in the North Region, Pritzker said as of Wednesday the 7-day positivity rate in the Metro East region outside St. Louis has fallen to 6.3 percent. Added restrictions there could be lifted “as soon as Friday,” Pritzker said.

WATCH ABOVE: Governor JB Pritzker gives an update on COVID-19 in Illinois Wednesday

Pritzker also called on Illinois residents to register to vote and make plans for how they will participate in the upcoming November 3 election.

The governor said while the deadline for voting by mail is October 29, the Board of Elections recommends applications be sent in by October 15 so ballots are delivered on time. He also encouraged young people and those who are not immunocompromised to sign on to be election judges.

Chicago reported 345 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths over the past 24 hours, according to preliminary state data.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot released her 2021 budget plan Tuesday, saying the “pandemic budget” could include cuts to city jobs in an effort to fill a massive $1.2 billion budget deficit.

Lightfoot has said “all options are on the table,” but that property taxes and job cuts are last on her list.

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