‘Worse than Chicago’ Pritzker says spread of COVID-19 in southern Illinois may mean more restrictions

Illinois

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said 1,759 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 additional coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past day Wednesday.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 46,000 tests were performed in the last 24 hours, the second-highest increase reported since the start of the pandemic. Officials have been ramping up testing as the virus is seeing a resurgence both in Illinois and across the country.

The statewide 7-day positivity rate from July 29-August 4 remains at 3.9 percent, near where it has been for the past week after rates began to climb in late June. To date, 186,471 cases of COVID-19 and 7,573 related deaths have been confirmed in Illinois.

The average number of cases measured over the past 14 days continues to rise since reaching its lowest point around late June. However, the 14-day average for coronavirus-related deaths is around 16 as of Wednesday, near the lowest point its reached since infection rates began to fall.

Hospitalizations statewide remain within limits set by the state as well, with 1,552 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night, including 368 in intensive care and 129 on ventilators.

Two western Illinois regions established in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan are at one of the state’s coronavirus “warning” levels as of August 2, with positivity rate increases in seven of the past 10 days, down from six on Tuesday. Hospitalization rates in those regions remain within the state’s limits, however.

On Tuesday, Governor JB Pritzker warned high and rising coronavirus test positivity rates in some southern Illinois counties could lead to increased mitigation measures during a visit to the region Tuesday.

Two downstate regions established in the state’s plan are still the closest the 8 percent positivity rate threshold where additional mitigation measures could be put in place, with 7.1 percent positivity in Metro East and 7.2 percent in the Southern region as of Sunday.

Pritzker said Tuesday the spread of coronavirus downstate is “worse than Chicago,” with the highest increases among young people who are 20 years old and younger. Many outbreaks are being traced to large gatherings like back-to-school parties, as well as bars and other social settings.

The positivity rate for Chicago is 4.9 percent as of August 2, the third lowest in the state.

Pritzker is scheduled to give an update on COVID-19 in Illinois and the latest state measures at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. You can watch it live on wgntv.com.

Chicago students will begin the fall with all-remote instruction, officials said Wednesday, backing away from tentative plans to have most kids return to the classroom two days a week.

Clorox disinfecting wipes won’t be fully restocked until next year due to skyrocketing demand, as the company’s CEO calls them “the hottest commodity in the business right now.” The wipes are made of the same material as face masks, medical gowns and other medical wipes, which is hard to come by.

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