CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said 37 deaths related to COVID-19 have been confirmed over the past day Wednesday, the most reported in a single day since early July, as new coronavirus restrictions take effect in Will and Kankakee counties.
The 37 deaths reported Wednesday are the most since July 7, when 37 deaths were also reported. The only other days where deaths passed 30 in-between then were July 28 (30) and July 8 (36).
While the 14-day average of deaths related to the coronavirus remained around 15 or 16 for weeks after reaching its lowest level since the pandemic began, it rose to 20 as of Wednesday.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 2,157 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the past day as well, while the number of new tests passed 50,000 for the fifth time in a week. The statewide positivity rate from August 19-27 dropped slightly to 4 percent.
New restrictions in the South Suburban Region including Will and Kankakee counties also go into effect Wednesday, including limits on gatherings to 25 people or less, bans on indoor dining at bars and restaurants and bans on party buses.
The mitigation measures were put in place after the positivity rate in the region passed 8 percent for three consecutive days, following the guidelines in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan. The latest reported positivity rate of 8.3 percent on August 23 remains above the state limit.
Restrictions also remain in place in the Metro East region outside St. Louis. The positivity rate there remains above 8 percent as well, coming in at 9.7 percent as of Sunday.
Bar and restaurant customers across Illinois will also now be required to put their masks back on while ordering, receiving their food or otherwise interacting with staff starting today.
Governor Pritzker announced the new rule Tuesday, saying it is meant to keep staff members safe from coronavirus.
Hospital resources and coronavirus hospitalizations remain within state guidelines as of Wednesday, with 1,573 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 350 in intensive care and 132 on ventilators.
The City of Chicago added South Dakota and removed Arizona and North Carolina from its travel order requiring anyone entering or returning to Chicago to self-quarantine for 14 days Tuesday.
According to state data, 328 new COVID-19 cases and four coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the city over the past 24 hours.
While the 7-day testing average in the city has been remained around 8,500 since late July, the positivity rate rose from 3.9 percent on July 19 to 5.3 percent as of August 23.
As schools reopen across the country, dorm-room parties are being blamed for a coronavirus outbreak at the University of Miami. Some students who tested positive have been relocated into isolation rooms and two entire floors of a residential tower are under quarantine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated its guidelines for COVID-19 testing, now saying those who have been in close contact with someone who has had the virus may not need to be tested if they are asymptomatic.
Under the previous guidelines, testing was appropriate for those with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic. The CDC has yet to explain the updated guidelines, which have left many doctors puzzled.