CHICAGO — Coronavirus has killed 192 more Illinoisans, the state reported Thursday.
That’s the second-most deaths from COVID-19 reported in a single day for Illinois. The grim record was set just one day earlier, when the state reported 238 deaths from COVID-19 in a single day.
It’s possible an unspecified number of deaths were delayed in being reported and happened over the holiday weekend, according to the state. Still, more than 800 people have died from coronavirus just since Friday.
Among the most recent victims were 46 people in Cook County, including a man in his 20s and two men in their 30s. At least 12,830 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 795 deaths are considered to be probably related to coronavirus.
“This virus is a killer,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “Let’s honor those it has taken by doing everything we can to prevent more people getting sick and dying. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Stay home whenever you can. We’ll get through this.”
Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, urged people to keep taking safety measures as the nation begins to look ahead to a vaccine. Health care workers and people in long-term care facilities could start getting vaccine in just two weeks in Illinois.
“Let’s not make this holiday season anyone’s last holiday season,” Ezike said. “Let’s stay the course and fight for everyone’s life.
“… Let’s make the holidays less harrowing, not just for the people who might end up sick and in the hospital with COVID or non-COVID illnesses, but also for the staff that will tend to all those COVID as well as non-COVID patients. … We’ve already lost too many lives. Yes, we’ve lost our normalcy, but we shouldn’t lose hope.”
The state also reported 10,959 confirmed cases in the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 759,562.
The state’s number of new cases and its positivity rates have been dropping — but hospitalizations still remain worryingly high, Pritzker said Monday. Hospitalizations are still 23 percent higher than they were during the peak in the spring.
That’s particularly concerning because officials expect there could be another spike in cases due to people gathering for Thanksgiving.
Because of that, every region in Illinois will remain under Tier 3 restrictions for at least several more weeks, Pritzker said earlier this week. The rules close museums, casinos and theaters; cut capacity at stores; stop indoor sports and put stricter rules in place at gyms and salons, among other things.
Chicago is also under a stay at home advisory. People are being asked to stay home as much as possible, leaving only for essential things like grocery shopping; to work from home if possible; to stop gathering with anyone outside their household; and to stop traveling.
The surge in new cases in Chicago — and across Illinois — can only partially be explained by increased testing; in reality, there are more cases because coronavirus is spreading so much, officials have said. There’s evidence of that in the way positivity rates and COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have rapidly risen in recent weeks.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity fell to 10.4 percent Thursday with 106,778 tests reported. It was at 10.6 percent Wednesday. 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, fell to 12.3 percent Thursday. It was at 12.5 percent Wednesday.
As of Wednesday night, 5,653 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 1,170 people in the ICU and 693 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 12 deaths and 2,227 confirmed cases were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 3,540 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 167,409 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of 14 deaths per day, down from an average of 17 people dying per day the week prior.
An average of 1,324 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 32 percent decrease from the prior week. But testing has also fallen 29 percent in the past week.
There was a large drop in testing over the holiday weekend, but city officials expect that to come back up, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Thursday livestream.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 11.6 percent, down from 12.2 percent the week before.
Chicago’s made “nice progress” recently, Arwady said, but it still has far too many deaths and new cases of COVID-19.
It is “still not the time for gathering at all,” Arwady said. “Still the time for being careful.”
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