Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears at a COVID-19 briefing Monday at the Thompson Center in the Loop. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times
The latest deaths attributed to the virus are higher than the state’s average of about 110 deaths per day over the last two weeks. That rate was just 42 deaths per day at the start of November. With a potential post-holiday spike still looming, Illinois’ coronavirus metrics took a slight turn for the worse Tuesday as public health officials announced COVID-19 has spread to 12,542 more people and claimed another 125 lives.
While it’s the most new daily cases logged by the state in almost two weeks, they were detected among 116,081 tests, as the state rebounded from a dip in testing over Thanksgiving weekend. That still raises the state’s average positivity rate over the last week from 10.1% to 10.4%.
The 125 latest deaths attributed to the virus are higher than the state’s average of about 110 deaths per day over the last two weeks. That rate was just 42 deaths per day at the start of November.
Twenty of the latest victims came from Cook County, with 24 more lives lost in other Chicago-area counties.
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Illinois’ hospital situation saw marginal improvement as the number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients dipped slightly to 5,835 by Monday night, as did the number of occupied ICU beds, down to 1,195.
But the number of patients requiring ventilators increased slightly to 721 — and all the coronavirus hospital metrics are still close to record highs, far surpassing anything the state saw in the spring.
As Chicago reported an average positivity rate below 12% for a third consecutive day (now down to 11.5%), Tuesday could have marked a return to loosened business restrictions for the city, according to the metrics set by Pritzker when he imposed tighter mitigations for the surging state Nov. 20.
But Pritzker, citing the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, changed course Monday, saying the current restrictions will be in place statewide for at least “the next few weeks” regardless of any recent progress, as officials brace for a potential resurgence due to outbreaks stemming from family Thanksgiving gatherings.
Because of the virus’ incubation period, it could be up to two weeks after Thanksgiving before the scope of a possible spike is known. Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said people who celebrated the holiday with people from outside their immediate household should get tested later this week.
“As we come off a holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own household, we’ll be watching closely to monitor for a Thanksgiving-related surge in our case count, positivity rate, hospitalizations and ICU admissions,” Pritzker tweeted.
“My prayer, our collective prayer, is that everyone stays healthy and that the numbers continue their downward trajectory. I ask the public to join us in making that prayer come true.”
Since March, 10.6 millions coronavirus tests have been administered in Illinois, with about 739,000 people confirmed to carry COVID-19 and 12,403 of those dying.
Pritzker will give another COVID-19 update Tuesday afternoon.
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