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Illinois Sees 10,300 New Coronavirus Cases As 49 People Die, With State On ‘Very, Very Dark Path,’ Pritzker Says

"But if local leaders don't step up, if high-risk industries don't act accordingly, if families don't put off that gathering or dinner party, if people don't wear a mask, we're heading down a very, very dark path toward where we were last spring."

James Brooks helps distribute masks at the mask giveaway by the Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Garfield Park on Saturday, May 9, 2020 in Chicago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Every metric used to measure the city’s and state’s coronavirus outbreaks looked grim Friday, with officials reporting dozens of deaths, rising hospitalizations, quickly growing positivity rates and a record-breaking number of new cases.

Gov. JB Pritzker, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s and state’s health chiefs have said Chicago and Illinois are firmly in a second surge of coronavirus. And they’ve warned this second wave — which is already seeing exponential growth in cases — could rival the first, deadly wave seen in the spring.

Now, everyday people and local leaders need to step up to wear masks and practice social distancing to slow the virus’s spread, they’ve urged.

In particular, people need to stop gathering in small groups with family and friends, officials have said. They’ve said that is where people are letting their guard down, and that’s where Chicago and the rest of Illinois are seeing the most COVID-19 spread.

They’ve urged Illinoisans to stop inviting people over to their homes; and, if they do invite someone over, everyone should keep their masks on, stay 6 feet apart and not spend much time together indoors.

“Frankly, I can tell you that these numbers are drastically increasing. And I can tell you that ’til I’m blue in the face,” Pritzker said at a Thursday news conference. “But if local leaders don’t step up, if high-risk industries don’t act accordingly, if families don’t put off that gathering or dinner party, if people don’t wear a mask, we’re heading down a very, very dark path toward where we were last spring.”

Late Friday, the governor announced he was going into isolation after a possible exposure to the virus during a meeting Monday. His test results are pending.

Forty-nine people were reported to have died from COVID-19 during the past day, including 14 people from Cook County. At least 10,079 people have died so far, but, starting Friday, the state now lists another 318 deaths as being probably related to coronavirus.

The state, for the second time this week and the ninth time in 22 days, reported a record-high number of new confirmed cases: 10,376. That brings the total number of confirmed cases up to 465,540 for Illinois.

Seventy-five counties, including Cook, are now at “warning level,” according to the state. And all of Illinois’ 11 regions are under “enhanced mitigations” in an attempt to slow the virus’s spread.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate rose to 9.6 percent with 98,401 tests reported. It was at 9.1 percent Thursday. The figure represents total confirmed cases divided by total tests.

Illinois’ seven-day test positivity, which measures how many tests were positive out of total tests, hit 11.1 percent. It was at 10.5 percent Thursday.

As of Thursday night, 4,090 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 786 people in the ICU and 339 people using ventilators.

Hospitalizations statewide have gone up 120 percent since the start of October, Pritzker said, and officials are beginning to worry they might not have a hospital bed for everyone who needs one in the near future unless Illinois can get its outbreak under control.

COVID-positive ICU patients and the number of COVID-positive people using ventilators have more than doubled in the past month, too, Pritzker said.

If people don’t change their behaviors, “We are going to experience a surge in hospitalizations much higher than where we are now,” Pritzker said. “And in some areas of our state, that will mean you run out of hospital beds and nurses and doctors who can treat you.”

The picture is no prettier in Chicago, which has also seen rising positivity rates, hospitalizations, new cases and deaths in recent weeks.

In Chicago, 10 deaths and 2,583 confirmed cases were reported during the past day. There have been at least 3,121 Chicagoans killed and 113,335 confirmed cases in the city, according to state data.

Cases are doubling about every 12 days in Chicago; if that continues, the city is on pace to see “hundreds of thousands of cases just by the end of the year,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Thursday livestream.

That will translate into more people going to the hospital and more people dying from COVID-19, Arwady said.

The city is seeing an average of 1,430 cases being reported per a day, a 43 percent uptick from the week prior. Chicago’s seven-day positivity rate has risen to 11.1 percent, up from 8.5 percent the week before.

The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day; for months, that number hadn’t risen above two or three per day. But officials have said deaths are beginning to rise in Chicago, and they’ll go higher.

Over the past month, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-has more than doubled, Arwady said. Chicago went from fewer than 250 people to, as of Thursday, more than 500 people with COVID-19 in Chicago hospitals.

“The risk right now is much higher than it was” just a month ago, Arwady said.

In a group of 10 Chicagoans picked at random, there is a one in three chance someone in the group has COVID-19, Arwady said.

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