CHICAGO — Illinois saw a record increase in COVID-19 cases for a third straight day Thursday as health officials reported more than 12,000 new infections across the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 12,702 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday, as well as 43 additional coronavirus-related deaths.
This is the third day in a row new cases in the state hit record levels, surpassing the previous record of 12,657 cases set a day earlier.
Illinois’ current 7-day average is around 11,600 new COVID-19 cases, five times the level it was at in early October, data compiled by WGN-TV shows. The state’s 7-day average of deaths is now around 63 after officials reported the biggest single-day increase since late May Wednesday.
Health officials said more than 100,000 new coronavirus tests were performed over the past day, as the state is now averaging more than 92,000 tests over a 7-day period.
Officials are now reporting “new and probable cases” of COVID-19 since antigen tests are being included in the daily totals. As of Wednesday, antigen tests made up around 6.5% of all tests.
According to the IDPH, the state’s case positivity rate from November 5-11 rose again to 12.6% as it approaches levels last seen in mid-May, although testing has more than quadrupled since then.
Hospitalizations in the state continue to rise as well, with 5,258 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, including 956 in intensive care and 438 on ventilators.
While hospital resources in most regions established in the Restore Illinois plan remain within state guidelines, non-intensive care hospital bed availability in the west suburbs, south suburbs and Cook County outside Chicago all dipped below the “surge” level advised by the state Thursday.
Every region of Illinois remains under added COVID-19 restrictions including a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants, while northwest and southern Illinois as well as Kankakee, Will, DuPage and Kane counties are now under stricter measures including limits on social groups to 10 people or less.
WATCH ABOVE: Gov. Pritzker and health experts give an update on COVID-19 in Illinois Thursday
After essentially reopening Indiana and removing almost all COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses seven weeks ago, Governor Eric Holcomb announced a new restrictions Wednesday including limiting crowd sizes to 20 people in the highest-risk counties.
The order, which will go in effect Sunday, comes as a response to Indiana reporting more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the second one-day record for the state in less than a week.
Nationwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday he doesn’t believe the United States will need to go into lockdown to fight the coronavirus if people double down on wearing masks and social distancing.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert says “the cavalry is coming” in the form of vaccines. He says, “Help is really on the way.”