Illinois reports 1,624 new coronavirus cases, most in nearly 2 months

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Health officials reported more than 1,600 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Illinois over the past day Thursday, the highest single-day increase in the state since May 25.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 1,624 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed over the past 24 hours, posting the highest daily number of cases since May 25, when 1,713 were reported.

Testing has expanded over the past two months as well, as state health officials say 39,706 tests have been performed over the past 24 hours, compared to 21,643 tests which were performed on May 25.

The reported positivity rate ticked up for the fourth consecutive day Thursday, as officials said the rate from July 16-22 came in at 3.4 percent. The rate has been near or below 3 percent since mid-June.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said Wednesday a steady increase in both the number of cases and the state’s test positivity rate in recent days is a source of concern as some states see a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

“The best doctors in our state, who are some of the best in the nation and the world, tell me that a gradually rising positivity rate is exactly when the exponential factors can take over.”

Pritzker called on residents to continue following health guidelines, including wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing hands.

Statewide, hospital resources remain within the limits set by the “Restore Illinois” plan, with 1,473 patients hospitalized with COVI-19, including 309 in intensive care and 135 on ventilators.

As of Thursday, the Metro East region outside of St. Louis is no longer above the state’s “warning” level of days with an increase in its positivity rate, although it has reported an increase over six of the past 10 days.

However, the Metro East region’s positivity rate of 6.9 percent as of July 19 is closer than any other region to passing the state’s “failsafe” level of 8 percent where mitigation measures would be put in place.

Governor Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday Indiana will begin mandating face coverings statewide starting July 27, citing an increase in coronavirus cases there.

With the U.S. tally of confirmed COVID-19 infections at nearly 4 million, 30 U.S. states including Illinois now have mask orders in place.

Fearing another grim wave of nursing home deaths as COVID-19 cases rebound, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday his administration will provide $5 billion to help facilities counter the virus.

The number of laid-off Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time since the pandemic struck in March, evidence of the deepening economic pain the outbreak is causing to the economy.

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