CHICAGO — State health officials reported 1,287 new cases of COVID-19 and 73 additional related deaths in Illinois Tuesday, which Governor JB Pritzker said is the “largest single-day increase” in deaths to date.
“There are so many tragedies here,” Pritzker said. “Let these numbers today be a reminder that this pandemic is deadly serious, so stay at home.”
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are a total of 13,549 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 380 total related deaths. Of known and suspected COVID-19 patients in Illinois, 1,166 are in intensive care units and 821 are on a ventilator.
The growing number of infections has taken a toll on the healthcare system: as of Tuesday, 43 percent of the state’s hospital beds are open while 35 percent of ICU beds are available.
But there are fewer and fewer beds each day, and in Chicago and the near suburbs the governor said some hospitals are close to capacity. Beds for less severe cases have been added at McCormick Place and four other sites around the state to help.
While a total 68,732 people have been tested so far in Illinois, Pritzker said the number of positive results likely represents a “significant undercount” of the number of cases.
“We know there are many people out there who have contracted COVID-19 and are already in recovered without even realizing it, and some others have recovered at home without ever getting tested,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker also announced Tuesday that a member of his staff tested positive for the virus. The staffer is at home and is doing OK. The governor said he did not have close contact with the staff member. The governor has not been tested for COVID-19.
Cases have been found in 77 counties across the Illinois, with the first cases reported in Coles, Lawrence, Richland and Shelby counties Tuesday.
IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said 68 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state have been found in people under 50, but 80 percent of deaths are among those 60 years old and older. The communities at highest risk continue to be older individuals, and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions.
Ezike said a new survey of those who have tested positive for the virus found some “good news.” Among those who responded to an electronic survey, 43 percent reported they had recovered from coronavirus within seven days of testing positive, and were no longer showing symptoms.
As the state’s stay-at-home order remains in effect, Pritzker advised anyone leaving their home to cover their mouth with a bandana or other cloth face covering.
It’s been nearly two weeks since Chicago shut down public spaces like the lakefront, 606 trail, and parks to curb the spread of COVID-19, and police said they will be out enforcing the order as temperatures warm in the city Tuesday. Since the end of March, police say they’ve up more than 1,500 groups, issued several citations and made three arrests after people violated those orders.
The City of Chicago Chicago also launched a health campaign focused on the city’s black and brown communities Monday, as African Americans account for 52% of COVID-19 cases and 72% of related deaths in the city but make up only 30% of its population.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot also issued an order Tuesday making immigrants and refugees who do not have legal status in the U.S. eligible for all coronavirus-related relief programs run by the city.
On another positive note, Chicago Animal Care and Control said Tuesday it has run out of adoptable dogs for the first time in its history.