Illinois reports 1,617 new coronavirus cases, 32 deaths as state nears 6 million tests to date

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said 1,617 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past 24 hours Tuesday.

Including the 49,513 tests reported Tuesday, Illinois is nearing 6 million COVID-19 tests performed to date (5,974,469 so far). Half of those tests were performed over the past two months.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate from September 29 – October 5 came in at 3.4 percent, near the level it has been at since mid-September but above the lowest levels reported in late June.

While the positivity rate has remained flat, the state’s weekly average of tests rose from around 47,000 a day in mid-September to more than 58,000 as of Tuesday, data compiled by WGN shows.

Illinois ranks fifth in the nation with a 14-day average of about 57,800 tests performed daily, ranking behind California, New York, Texas and Massachusetts, according to a study.

Additional coronavirus mitigation measures remain in effect across northwest Illinois, as the 7-day positivity rate in the “North Region” established in the Restore Illinois plan remains above the state’s 8 percent limit, coming in at 8.5 percent as of October 3.

The region includes several northwest Illinois counties, with Winnebago County where Rockford is locating reporting the most tests by far, averaging 1,336 tests from September 27 – October 3. Winnebago County also reported a positivity rate of 9.9 percent over that period.

While extra restrictions also remain in effect in the Metro East region outside St. Louis, the positivity rate there is trending down, reaching 6.7 percent as of October 3. State officials said added mitigation measures would be lifted if the region averages 6.5 percent over a three-day period.

Other than the region which includes the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the Chicago region reported the lowest positivity rate, coming in at 4.5 percent as of October 3. According to preliminary state data, the city reported 192 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths over the past day.

Health officials in Chicago updated the city’s emergency travel order Tuesday, adding Alaska and removing Georgia and Texas from the list of states flagged as high risk for COVID-19 and requiring residents to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials also “strongly advised” residents not to travel to Indiana.

Hospitalizations statewide still remain well within guidelines, with 1,673 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday night, including 384 in intensive care and 159 on ventilators.

President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House Monday after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” Trump said of the virus in a video released after his return Monday. “You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines.”

The advice fit with the president’s past remarks about the virus, but emergency room doctors, public health experts, survivors of the disease and those who have lost loved ones said his words were especially dangerous at a time when infections are on the rise in many places.

A new study finds a staggering number of patients suffer with long-term problems and mysterious symptoms after COVID-19. Doctors in Chicago found the majority of hospitalized patients experienced neurologic issues like brain fog, dizziness and muscle pain weeks and months after having COVID-19.

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