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Illinois Sees Its Highest 1-Day Total Of Tests And New Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Illinois reported nearly 30,000 more coronavirus tests since it last released numbers Monday.

Alivio Medical Center's Pilsen drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the Lower West Side neighborhood in action on Saturday, May 9, 2020. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Illinois saw its highest one-day total of new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past day as well as its highest number of tests, officials said Tuesday.

Illinois reported 29,266 coronavirus tests since it last released numbers Monday. Some of those tests were done over previous days, but more than 20,000 were done in the last 24 hours, a new high for the state, Gov. JB Pritzker said.

A total of 4,114 new cases were identified, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The spike in new confirmed cases was at least partially the result of ramped-up testing.

The previous high for new cases was 3,137, which the state announced on May 1.

“We have not had [a number] in the 4,000 range before, but we also have never had tests in the 29,000 range,” Ezike said.

In addition, Illinois suffered another grim 24-hour stretch as 144 more people died from COVID-19. There have now been 3,601 deaths in Illinois.

Pritzker set an early goal of testing at least 10,000 people a day. While it took weeks to reach that number, the state met it and far surpassed it in recent weeks.

The state has set up additional testing sites, expanded capacity in state labs and leaned on the federal government for more supplies.

“We’re very pleased with the progress we’re making on testing,” Pritzker said Tuesday.

Ezike also reported 4,226 people are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, including 1,215 people in intensive care units. There are 730 people on ventilators.

On Monday, there were 4,319 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 1,248 were in the ICU and 730 were on ventilators.

Pritzker again asked people to follow the stay at home order.

“This virus is still out there and is still killing people,” the governor said.

Everyone who wants to open businesses “and put people at risk willy-nilly needs to take a look at the data, look at the science and recognize we’re gonna have more people in the hospital and more people dying if they don’t follow the path of gradually reopening.”

The stay at home order has being challenged by small groups of officials and individuals. Business owners have threatened to reopen and pastors — including one in Albany Park and another in Belmont Cragin — have held services in defiance of the order.

Pritzker has said he wants to avoid using police to enforce the order, but he said there are a number of ways his administration could get officials to obey — including by cutting aid to cities and counties. He’s previously said the state could permanently revoke licenses for businesses that reopen, too.

But the governor said people not following state guidelines are “outliers.”

“I have asked people to do the right thing, and I want to point out that the vast majority of people in Illinois have been doing the right thing. I’m so proud of that,” he said.

“These people [breaking the rules] do not follow science or data; they’re just listening to partisan rhetoric, perhaps, and following their own instincts. But no science.”

The governor said he is looking for ways to help businesses and small towns hit hard by the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Pritzker announced the state has created a program offering $25 million to local governments to “jumpstart” infrastructure projects, which will help cities and counties continue work they might have otherwise not been able to afford due to the crisis. It’ll also help put some people back to work, he said.

The state is distributing $75 million to hospitals around Illinois that are struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic.

The governor is also calling on the Legislature to convene so the state can pass a plan to provide support — particularly rent and mortgage relief — to families, small businesses and small towns.


Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.

Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even people who show no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.

The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills and shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste and/or smell

People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion and runny nose, according to Harvard Medical School.

If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, seek immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.

How To Protect Yourself

Here’s what you can do to prevent getting ill:

  • The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, such as cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
  • Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have to sneeze or cough with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.

What To Do If You Think You’re Sick

Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.

If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where COVID-19 is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been ordered to stay home or risk getting a $500 fine.

Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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