CHICAGO — Health officials reported over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed over the past day Tuesday, representing the biggest jump in cases during the pandemic so far as testing continues to expand in the state.
For the second day in a row, Governor JB Pritzker gave his daily coronavirus update from his Gold Coast mansion after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
While the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests stays relatively flat, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports 4,014 cases of COVID-19 and 144 related deaths were confirmed in the past 24 hours. Those new cases were discovered amongst 29,266 new tests, which is also the highest number of tests reported to date.
This comes after Pritzker said Monday that Illinois would be “going it alone” and working to ramp up testing and develop contract tracing methods without federal support. Testing is being expanded most aggressively at nursing homes, where multiple outbreaks have taken place across the state.
As of Tuesday, 83,021 total cases of coronavirus disease and 3,601 deaths have been reported in Illinois, while 471,691 total tests have been performed.
The rate of hospitalizations continues to be within a manageable level, according to the IDPH. As of Tuesday, 4,626 patients are in the hospital with COVID-19, including 1,215 in intensive care and 730 on ventilators.
Illinois hospitals started to receive $75 million in new stability payments to help fight COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced Tuesday.
The funds are meant to help hospitals provide essential COVID-19 services to their communities. They began receiving the first installments in late April, and they will continue through July 1.
State officials released a “scorecard” Tuesday showing that the northeast region is on track for most of the metrics required to move on to the next phase of reopening, as outlined in the “Restore Illinois” plan.
The one exception is the “positivity rate” of tests in the northeast region is slightly above the 20 percent limit, coming in at 22.3 percent.
Pritzker said there’s still time for the region to bring those numbers up in time to move on to the next phase at the end of May.
Pritzker is receiving pushback on the plan from Republicans in the state legislature and local officials who say the plan is unfair in its timeline and the way it groups areas together.
Leaders in less-populated areas outside Chicago, including collar counties like Will, Kankakee, Grundy, McHenry and Lake, argue they should be allowed to open much sooner than Cook County.
On Tuesday, Pritzker announced the state is also expediting $25 million of existing funding to local public infrastructure projects that are ready to begin work this summer.
“This will keep key public infrastructure projects in the pipeline, and support the return of skilled labor to job sites for the busy summer season,” Pritzker said in a statement.
In the meantime, the governor also says he’d like the legislature to convene to take on measures like banning evictions, delaying tax filings, extending unemployment benefits to individuals and giving more loans and grants to small businesses.
“We can begin to put our financial house in order even as we battle this virus,” Pritzker said. “The legislature needs to pass a comprehensive plan to support family, small businesses and small towns.”