Illinois COVID-19 death total at 596; over 17K people have tested positive for virus

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials announced Friday that an additional 68 people died due to COVID-19.

The total number of positive cases now sits at 17,887, and the death total is at 596, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

During a press conference Friday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and other health care officials outlined steps that are being taken to try and address the health care inequality — problems that have been around for decades but really brought into the light during this pandemic. 

The state has set up a task force to help the black community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The community has been hit especially hard with a disproportionate mortality rate.

Dr. Ngoni Ezike, along with several others, will help run the task force. The mortality rate is five times greater for black people compared to white people. The black community also suffers disproportionally from many of the underlying causes that make COVID-19 so deadly for some.

The governor also announced partnerships with several health care centers on the South and West sides of Chicago and in suburban Cook County and Lurie’s Children’s Hospital to get hundreds of people a day tested. 

Pritzker also helped secure at least 2,000 hotel rooms across the state to help those who may live in close quarters have a place to quarantine themselves without risking infecting others. The governor also secured the millions to get it done. The money will go to local health departments. 

Also Friday, the governor was asked about his comment Thursday about possibly no large gatherings even into the summer as that relates to possibly cancelling the rest of the school year in Illinois. He said he does not know when the state’s cases will peak or when the curve will flatten.

The state also announced a text hotline for information about COVID-19. Anyone who wants to receive those text messages just text COVID to 312-500-3836.

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