CHICAGO — Illinois passed a grim milestone Friday as state officials announced that more than 4,000 people have now died from coronavirus.
An additional 130 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,058 people dead.
Also in the past day, another 2,432 people tested positive for the virus. That brings the total number of people with confirmed cases to 90,369, although doctors say far more than are presumed to have or had the virus.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said 4,367 people are hospitalized statewide with COVID-19. Of those, 1,129 are in intensive care and 675 on ventilators.
That compares to Thursday’s numbers of 4,473 people in hospitals, with 1,132 in ICUs and 689 on ventilators.
Gov. JB Pritzker expressed optimism Illinois is making progress, noting every region in the state now has a positivity rate on pace to allow for eased restrictions at the end of the month.
The “positivity rate” is the rate of people who come back as positive for COVID-19 after being tested.
On April 4, nearly 24 percent of people tested statewide were positive. That has dropped to 9.2 percent for the last 24 hours and 12 percent on average for the past seven days.
Pritzker warned that the drop in the positivity rate is partially attributed to the surge in testing seen in recent days. Illinois, for example, reported that an additional 26,000 people were tested since the last numbers were reported on Thursday.
The northeast region of the state, which includes Chicago, has a positivity rate of 19.4 percent as of Friday.
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:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chills and shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- 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.
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