Illinois reports 1,953 new coronavirus cases, 28 deaths as state offers $16 million for pandemic response jobs

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WATCH ABOVE: Governor JB Pritzker gives an update on COVID-19 in Illinois Thursday

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said 1,953 new cases of COVID-19 and 28 additional coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed over the past day Thursday, as the state announces a plan to fund 1,300 new jobs related to the pandemic response.

In a statement, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said a $16.6 million program funded by federal and state sources will go towards hiring 1,300 residents for various jobs related to the pandemic response across the state. Pritzker is expected to speak about the pandemic response in Illinois around 1 p.m. Thursday.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 7-day rolling positivity rate of coronavirus tests from September 2-8 came in at 3.8 percent, however that average could be affected by a spike in reported tests on September 4 which officials said was caused by a backlog of testing data.

Additional state-imposed coronavirus mitigation measures remain in effect in the South Suburban and Metro East regions after the 7-day coronavirus positivity rates there passed the state’s 8 percent limit.

Just over two weeks since restrictions were put in place in the South Suburban Region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, the rate there came in at 7.5 percent as of September 7. However, it needs to drop below an average of 6.5 percent over 14 days in order for the measures to be lifted.

The positivity rate in the Metro East region outside St. Louis remains above the 8 percent limit, reaching 10.1 percent as of Monday after rising for six consecutive days.

According to state data, 235 new cases of COVID-19 and one coronavirus-related death were reported in Chicago over the past day, while the city’s preliminary 7-day positivity rate came in at as of 5.1 percent as of September 7.

Indiana health officials reported 764 new COVID-19 cases and 13 coronavirus-related deaths Thursday, while the 7-day positivity rate from August 28 – September 3 declined to 5 percent.

Across the U.S., the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week at 884,000, a sign that layoffs are stuck at a historically high level six months after the viral pandemic flattened the economy.

The latest figure released by the Labor Department Thursday still far exceeds the number who sought benefits in any week on record before this year.

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