CHICAGO — Coronavirus killed another eight people across Illinois during the last day.
Four of those victims were in Cook County. The most recent losses bring the state’s death toll up to 7,226.
The state also saw another 1,187 people test positive for coronavirus during the last day. In all, Illinois has had 156,693 confirmed cases of the virus.
The seven-day positivity rate rose to 3.1 after hovering at 3 percent for two days.
Officials have said the number of confirmed cases around Illinois and the state’s positivity rate are slowly rising, though deaths and hospitalizations of people with coronavirus are still far below where they were during the virus’s peak here in mid-May.
As of Tuesday night, 1,454 people were hospitalized with coronavirus, including 324 people in the ICU and 130 people using ventilators.
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Officials emphasized again Wednesday the rise in new cases is being driven by young people. That’s true in Chicago, where people age 18-29 make up the bulk of newly confirmed cases, but also across the state.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker warned the city and state could close businesses and bring back tighter restrictions if cases continue to rise.
During separate press conference, both said they’re concerned about the spread of coronavirus and urged young people to keep taking precautions — like wearing masks and not gathering in large groups — to prevent transmission.
Officials said that while young people are at less risk of severe complications from coronavirus, they can face serious sickness and death. Young people with coronavirus can also transmit the disease to older people, who are more at risk.
“Young people, we need you to make responsible decisions to help us continue to keep our successes and decrease and minimize spread,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Officials asked people to keep wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing their hands and isolating if sick to prevent spread of the virus. People traveling to nearby states should also quarantine upon returning home to Illinois.
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