CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker said health officials are considering additional statewide mitigation measures as Illinois set a new single-day record of COVID-19 cases Thursday and passed the grim milestone of 10,000 related deaths to date.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 9,935 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 97 additional coronavirus-related deaths Thursday.
This represents the highest number of deaths reported in the state since June and brings the total number reported to date to 10,030. Illinois is now averaging around 50 deaths over a 7-day period, data compiled by WGN-TV shows, near levels last reported in mid-June.
“Each day we are losing more and more of our neighbors to this virus; that’s not a trend that’s not going to turn around on its own,” Pritzker said Thursday. “To all those who have lost someone to this horrible, invisible virus, I’m sorry for your loss.”
Additionally, the 9,935 new cases reported Thursday is the biggest single-day increase to date, passing the previous record of 7,899 reported less than a week ago on October 31. This brings the 7-day average of cases in the state to more than 7,400.
As COVID-19 cases continue to trend upwards across the state, health officials are encouraging people to not wait until they show symptoms to get tested, since exposure is possible in essentially all public places. Free testing is available across the state and a searchable database of testing locations is available online.
The COVID-19 case positivity rate from October 29-November 4, which reflects the number of new cases compared to the total number of tests performed, came in at 9.1% as it continues a rise which began in early October.
With 86,015 new tests reported Thursday, Illinois is now averaging more than 81,000 tests over a 7-day period. The state was averaging about 60,000 tests at the beginning of October.
“At this point the rate in growth of positivity is far outpacing our growth in testing, in other words the more we test the more we are finding people with the virus – that’s awful news,” Pritzker said.
The number of patients hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 continues to rise as well. The IDPH reported 3,891 patients hospitalized with coronavirus as of Wednesday night, including 772 in intensive care and 343 on ventilators.
The total number of hospitalizations is near levels last reported in May, while those in intensive care and on ventilators are near levels last seen in June.
Pritzker said the number of hospitalizations in Illinois has more than doubled in less than five weeks. He called on residents to follow social distancing guidelines and for local governments to enforce state-mandated restrictions.
“If they don’t change their behavior we are going to experience a surge in hospitalizations much greater than we’re seeing now,” Pritzker said.
Looking ahead at the holiday season, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said they still recommend people avoid hosting groups at home or traveling anywhere that is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases – which is “almost everywhere.”
Additional coronavirus mitigation measures remain in place in every region established in the Restore Illinois plan as their 7-day positivity rates remain above the state’s “failsafe” level of 8% Thursday, with rates either stable or rising across the board.
Stricter “Tier 2” mitigation measures are in place in northwest Illinois, and could come to south suburban Will and Kankakee counties as well as west suburban Kane and DuPage counties Friday, as positivity rates there remain above the failsafe level two weeks after “Tier 1” mitigation measures were put in place.
These restrictions include limits on table sizes at bars and restaurants to six people, as well as limits on social gatherings to 10 people or less regardless of location, although there are exceptions for businesses, schools and sports.
If the current trajectory of rising positivity rates and hospitalizations continues, Pritzker said state officials are looking at imposing additional regional and statewide restrictions, which he said “nobody wants.”
“Across the nation we are seeing states and cities responding to this growing crisis, and they’re responding by rolling back their re-openings,” Pritzker said.