Illinois enters deadliest stretch of coronavirus pandemic so far with 192 more fatalities

Doctors and nurses tend to a 56-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19 in April at Roseland Community Hospital. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

More than 3,000 Illinois deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus in the last month alone, almost double the state’s death toll over the entire summer.  Illinois has fallen into its deadliest stretch of the coronavirus pandemic so far as public health officials on Thursday announced COVID-19 has claimed 192 more lives while spreading to another 10,959 people.
The latest daily death toll is second only to the all-time high 238 coronavirus deaths reported Wednesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
While the figures from both Wednesday and Thursday included deaths delayed in reporting from the long Thanksgiving weekend, the state has averaged 124 deaths a day since the holiday.
That tops the worst seven-day stretch of the first coronavirus wave in the spring, during which the state was losing an average of 117 residents to COVID-19 every day.
More than 3,000 Illinois deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus in the last month alone, almost double the state’s death toll over the entire summer.

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The latest victims included 46 Cook County residents, including a man in his 20s and two in their 30s. Another 42 fatalities were reported in other Chicago-area counties.
The new cases were diagnosed among almost 107,000 COVID-19 tests, which lowered the average statewide positivity rate from 10.6% to 10.4%.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health team has said that’s one sign of “cautious optimism” that the state might be trending down from a staggering viral resurgence that started in October.
Hospital metrics continued to show some gradual improvement with the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients decreasing from 5,764 to 5,653 as of Wednesday night. The number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care declined slightly to 1,170 and the number of those on ventilators fell to 693.
Still, those figures are all above or close to the levels Illinois hospitals saw in the first wave, and officials are bracing for a possible new spike in cases due to transmission at family holiday gatherings last week.
“Let’s not make this holiday season anyone’s last holiday season,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Wednesday. “Let’s stay the course and fight for everyone’s life.”
Since March, 10.8 million coronavirus tests have been administered in Illinois, with almost 760,000 people testing positive and 12,830 of those dying.

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