CHICAGO — A record-breaking 6,363 cases of coronavirus were reported in Illinois during the past day.
The state also reported 56 more deaths from the virus. The most recent victims included 13 people from Cook County, including a man in his 40s.
Illinois has now had 395,458 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 9,675 people have died.
“Statewide, we have a real problem on our hands, and people’s lives hang in the balance,” Gov. JB Pritzker said at a Thursday coronavirus briefing.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate rose to 6.9 percent with 83,056 tests reported. The figure represents total confirmed cases divided by total tests.
Illinois is also now reporting its seven-day test positivity, which measures how many tests were positive out of total tests. As of Thursday, it’s at 8.2 percent.
The growth in cases is rising much faster than testing, Pritzker said, indicating the seriousness of this wave of COVID-19. Hospitalizations and deaths have risen sharply since the start of October, but he said he expects “worse to come.”
Pritzker and other officials urged people to stop gathering and — with Halloween this Saturday — to not have any parties. They could turn into super-spreader events and lead to people dying, the officials said.
In Chicago, eight more people have died and 1,405 new cases were reported. An average of 776 new cases are being reported and two people are dying per day.
The city’s positivity rate rose to 8.2 percent; the week before, it was at 7.4 percent, according to state data.
“Bottom line: not good,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Thursday livestream.
Chicago is in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus, Arwady said, and most new cases are coming from people gathering in small groups with family and friends, particularly inside homes.
The city and its people need to start taking strong actions now to slow the virus’s spread, Arwady said.
“When our numbers are on the increase like this, it’s time to say, ‘Are there things in my life not totally essential right now? Can I dial back on this?'” Arwady said.
Chicagoans should stop inviting people into their homes and should take other precautions, like wearing masks and staying 6 feet from others, Arwady said.
The surge has led to tighter restrictions on local businesses — particularly bars and restaurants, where there’s more risk for COVID-19 to spread. Arwady said she’s “very worried” about how those rules will impact small businesses and the people who own and work for them.
To help, Chicagoans should support those businesses by doing things like ordering takeout, Arwady said. And people can slow the virus’s spread by making individual choices, like not seeing people outside their household and wearing masks and being socially distant if they do.
“When we can bend this curve again, we’ll be able to move forward,” Arwady said.
Arwady and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, also said people should get their flu shots as soon as possible. The state has already received reports of people who have flu and COVID-19 at the same time, Ezike said, and officials do not want to “battle this twin-demic.”
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