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Illinois Sees Highest Number Of New Coronavirus Cases In 2 Months As State Hits ‘Danger Point,’ Pritzker Says

Another 1,772 new cases of coronavirus were reported and 18 more people died.

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 — Another 1,772 new cases of coronavirus were reported Thursday in Illinois, the highest amount in more than two months.

Illinois hasn’t seen so many new cases in a day since May 25, when the state was coming off its peak and reported 1,713 cases.

But cases have been rising again for weeks, and Gov. JB Pritzker warned at a Thursday press conference in Peoria the state is again at a “danger point.”

“I would say that we’re at a danger point, everybody. Pay attention,” Pritzker said. “Now is the moment to wear your mask properly . … And for people who aren’t wearing masks, please start now. It is never too late. Start now.”

The governor has sounded alarm bells for days, saying Illinois was on track to reverse its gained and could even start seeing exponential growth of cases again. He’s urged people to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently to again slow the spread of the virus.

In all, Illinois has had 176,896 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Its positivity rate held at 3.8 percent.

Another 18 people died during the last day, including eight in Cook County. Illinois has now seen 7,478 people die from coronavirus.

Hospital admissions for coronavirus have begun to rise again, too, officials warned Wednesday. They said that’s a sign Illinois is headed in the wrong direction.

As of Wednesday night, 1,452 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 353 people in the ICU and 149 people on ventilators.

“We cannot continue to increase back to where we were,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said during a Wednesday press conference. She reminded people Illinois saw 191 people die from coronavirus in just a day at the pandemic’s peak in mid-May.

Coronavirus fatigue is real, Ezike said, but that does not mean the virus is over and people in Illinois can let down their guard. She urged people to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and washing their hands.

People should also cancel group-based celebrations like bachelor parties and house parties, she said.

“Each of us is called to make that personal sacrifice now to avoid making a much larger one down the road,” Ezike said.

Pritzker, speaking at the same press conference, issued a similar warning, saying the parts of the state where the virus is surging need to have local leaders step up and impose stricter regulations to protect residents.

“We have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people that we love,” Pritzker said. “We’ve made progress in Illinois, but we’ve also seen that it can be fleeting. And right now, things are not heading in the right direction.

“If things don’t change, a reversal is where we’re headed.”

Like Ezike, the governor urged people to wear masks and follow safety guidelines.

“It didn’t take long for Florida, Texas, Arizona and California to become plague with high rates of infection and death,” Pritzker said. “That was once where we were just 10 weeks ago.

“… Now there are danger signals as states all around us are spreading the virus, and some of our own people in Illinois haven’t gotten the message about wearing masks and abiding by the mitigations.”

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