CHICAGO — Coronavirus killed 30 more people across Illinois during the past day.
Eight of the victims were in Cook County. Illinois has now seen 7,573 people die from COVID-19.
Another 1,759 people also tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 186,471. The state’s positivity rate held at 3.9 percent.
As of Tuesday night, 1,552 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 368 people in the ICU and 129 people on ventilators.
Officials have repeatedly warned recently the virus is making a comeback throughout Illinois.
“If we don’t take further steps to reduce the spread of the virus, our numbers will continue to go up and we will be right back where we were just a few months ago,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a Wednesday press conference. “Anyone who thinks that wearing a mask or keeping their distance doesn’t help, you are just wrong.”
People need to take more personal responsibility and not host events where people can’t stay 6 feet apart and wear masks, Ezike said.
The doctor said people should be wary of gathering with family members just as they would be of meeting with other people outside their household. If you’re seeing people outside your “bubble,” Ezike said, you still need to take safety measures like wearing a mask and social distancing.
“COVID-19 is an invisible threat with very visible consequences,” Ezike said. “… This virus is not tired. In fact, it’s trying to gain momentum. It’s cunning and it’s elusive.”
People should also be courteous to restaurant staff and wear masks when ordering. And people should take precautions and tested if they are sick, even if they think their symptoms are just due to allergies or similar ailments, Ezike said.
Cases have also been on the rise in Chicago, though the spike here hasn’t been as significant as it has been in central and southern Illinois.
As of Wednesday, Chicago is seeing an average of 277 new cases per day. But recently, there have been days that have seen more than 300 or even 400 cases reported, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Wednesday press conference.
Arwady previously said hitting 400 or more new cases per day would be a “line in the sand” where Chicago would seriously look at bringing back restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. That’s because being at 400 new cases per day means Chicago will be considered to have its outbreak in poor control, according to city and federal standards.
“We’ve seen a significant increase over the last month in both the number of cases and the percent positivity,” Arwady said. “Where we’re in that 200-400 range again, that’s sort of our yellow zone, where we’re thinking about the need to potentially make additional changes.”
The city could look at further limiting how many people are allowed to gather, since gatherings are where officials have repeatedly seen outbreaks of COVID-19, Arwady said.
Birthday parties and other events among family and friends have turned into super-spreader events where multiple people have gotten COVID-19 — and part of that is because people are letting down their guard at such gatherings.
Arwady said the city hasn’t yet made decisions about what restrictions, if any, will be re-imposed. The city will track its data to determine what officials can do to limit the spread of coronavirus, she said.
Already, the city has canceled its plans to have public schools reopen with a hybrid model in the fall; instead, Chicago Public Schools will start Sept. 8 with all classes held remotely — with officials saying it’s because there’s been an uptick in new COVID-19 cases over the past month.
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