Illinois confirms 42 additional coronavirus-related deaths, largest single-day increase so far

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CHICAGO — Health officials say 986 new cases of COVID-19 and 42 additional deaths related to the virus have been confirmed in Illinois as of Wednesday, representing a 42 percent jump in the number of fatalities from figures made available by the state a day earlier.

“The coming weeks are going to get more and more difficult as the number of cases and deaths continue to rise,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, noting that people should continue washing their hands, staying home and cleaning frequently-touched surfaces.

“All of these things seem minimal, but these are the courageous actions that are going to save lives and eventually end this pandemic,” Ezike said. “It’s everyone’s behavior that will begin to turn the tide.”

These latest statistics bring the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 6,980, including 141 deaths. Cases have been found in 56 counties, with Massac and Vermilion counties reporting their first cases.

The deaths reported by the state in the largest single-day increase to date include 29 in Cook County alone, in addition to two deaths in DuPage County, and one death in Carroll, Kane, Lake, Sangamon, Will and Winnebago counties.

Watch Above: Governor JB Pritzker and health officials give daily update on spread of COVID-19 in Illinois, state measures

Ezike said a higher number of deaths is not unexpected as the number of cases continues to rise, and according to the latest studies the fatality rate of COVID-19 is between one and three percent. Mitigation strategies could help Illinois get “ahead of the curve” in the number of deaths, Ezike said.

“We will see growth in the number of deaths, most unfortunately, until we get to that peak. Hopefully we will have done as much as we can so the peak is lower than what was originally anticipated,” Ezike said.

On Tuesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order and keep schools closed through April 30, saying it was necessary to keep the spread of COVID-19 from overwhelming the healthcare system.

In Indiana, state health officials said Wednesday 16 more people have died from coronavirus-related illnesses, as its confirmed cases surged by more than 400. The latest statistics from the Indiana State Department of Health raise the death toll to 65 and the total number of cases to 2,565. Jobless claims in the state also surged past 120,000 last week, according to figures released Tuesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 203,000 people in the United States have been infected, and at least 4,473 have died. Data showing people without symptoms are fueling the spread has top officials rethinking whether the general public should be wearing masks. New data from Iceland shows 50% of those who tested positive said they were asymptomatic.

On Wednesday, Pritzker noted the importance of Illinois residents taking time to fill out the 2020 U.S. census. Based on the last census, Pritzker said the state currently receives $34 billion in federal funding, and the state could lose $195 million for each one percent “we undercount ourselves.”

Households across the United States have been receiving invitations to complete the 2020 census for weeks. But another milestone in the count is here: April 1 is known as Census Day.

Despite the limitations posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, the push to get people in the Chicago area counted for the census did not let up Wednesday. The concern over whether the coronavirus will restrict participation has been heightened by a suspension of door-to-door outreach efforts to keep social distancing practices in place.

April 1st also means rent is due for many, but in Chicago some tenants are on a rent strike, saying they could withhold payment possibly until the crisis is over. The first of the month is serving as a stressful marker for many who have lost their jobs, and many say stay-at-home order hampers the search for new work.

We have a list of local and federal resources available for people struggling to pay rent to economic impact of the coronavirus on our website.

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