Illinois reports 7,538 new cases, 55 new deaths as state passes 8 million tests

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CHICAGO — Illinois health officials reported 7,538 new COVID-19 cases and 55 additional related deaths Wednesday, as the total number of coronavirus tests performed in the state passes 8 million.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 71,857 tests performed in the state over the past 24 hours pushed it over the 8 million mark, with 8,030,713 tests performed to date. Over a million of those tests have been performed in less than two weeks.

The state is now averaging more than 81,000 tests over a 7-day period, data compiled by WGN-TV shows, while that average has doubled over the past three months.

Even as testing continues to expand in Illinois, the IDPH reports the percent of tests which confirm a new case of COVID-19 continues has been rising since early October, with the case positivity rate from October 28 – November 3 coming in at 8.5%.

The 7-day average of cases has also been rising over the past month, with the state averaging nearly 7,000 new cases as of Wednesday. Illinois is also averaging about 45 new deaths, double the average reported in early October.

Hospitalizations in the state are rising as well, with the IDPH reporting 3,761 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night, including 776 in intensive care and 327 on ventilators.

Hospital resources remain within state guidelines in most regions established in the Restore Illinois plan, with more than 20% of intensive care beds, non-surgical beds and ventilators available.

The South Suburban region which includes Will and Kankakee counties is approaching the state’s “warning” level with 22% of non-surgical hospital beds available as of Tuesday.

Every region established in the state’s plan remains under added coronavirus mitigation measures Wednesday, including restrictions on indoor service at bars and restaurants and limits on group sizes as of Wednesday.

While the plan established a “failsafe” level of a 7-day positivity rate of 8% for added restrictions to be put in place, rates in every region are above that level and most continue to rise.

Among the highest 7-day positivity rates is a 15.7% rate reported in northwest Illinois, and a rate of 13.3% reported in the region including South Suburban region.

Stricter “Tier 2” mitigation measures are in place in northwest Illinois, and could come to the South Suburban Region as well as west suburban Kane and DuPage counties Thursday as positivity rates there remain above 8% 14 days after the “Tier 1” mitigation measures were put in place.

These restrictions include limits on table sizes at bars and restaurants to six people, as well as limits on social gatherings to 10 people or less regardless of location, although there are exceptions for businesses, schools and sports.

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