CHICAGO — As the Illinois coronavirus death toll approaches 5,000, health officials offered a glimmer of hope Tuesday.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said last week was the first week there were fewer deaths than previous weeks. She called it a “hopeful sign.”
Ezike also reported 1,178 new cases of coronavirus and an additional 39 virus related deaths statewide Tuesday. It’s worth noting that numbers are often lower after a weekend due to slower reporting from labs.
The state is also now reporting a recovery rate estimate, which stands at 92%.
In total, there have been 113,195 coronavirus cases in the state, and 4,923 deaths.
With the numbers, Pritzker said it is systems go for reopen Phase 3 Friday. Bars, restaurants, hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and more can get to work with the stipulations that social distancing, face masks and more are in use.
“There is great news. All regions continue on track to move into Phase 3 by the end of this week,” he said.
But he cautioned there was still risk.
“Just because the numbers are moving in the right direction in the state of Illinois that does not mean that the virus has gone away, it’s still there,” Pritzker said.
And when asked about the big crowds at the Indiana Dunes and in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, with some of those crowds coming from Illinois for the holiday weekend, Pritzker said the expects the positive COVID numbers to spike as a result. He also said he was not at his lake home there but stayed in state.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, has announced a similar multi-phased plan to re-open Chicago, has said businesses could likely start to loosen restrictions in early June. City officials announced a key part of that plan Tuesday with the hiring and training of 600 people to boost contact tracing efforts.