CHICAGO — Another 148 Illinoisans have been killed by coronavirus in the past day — meaning the virus killed just under 1,000 people across the state this week.
It’s been a particularly deadly week for Illinois, which saw more deaths than any other state. The state saw a record 238 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday; just one day later, 192 more deaths were reported, the second-highest ever in a day.
In all, at least 953 Illinoisans were killed by the virus in the past seven days. That accounts for about 7.3 percent of all Illinois deaths since the start of the pandemic in March.
Among the most recent victims were 26 people in Cook County. At least 12,974 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 808 deaths are considered to be probably related to coronavirus.
“It is devastating, it’s just devastating for the country, for the state of Illinois, for all of us who are very focused on trying to save people’s lives,” Pritzker said Thursday. “Some of those of the people who passed away, they probably went to the hospital at some point, then they became an ICU patient, some of them went on ventilators. I look at it and I say, ‘How can people not follow the mitigations?'”
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 10,526 confirmed cases in the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 770,088.
The state’s number of new cases and its positivity rates had dropped for several days around the holiday — but so, too, did its testing numbers. Hospitalizations and deaths have remained high.
In Chicago, new cases and positivity rates fell for several days, but they’ve stabilized in the week since the holiday and deaths have remained high.
That’s particularly concerning because officials expect there could be another spike in cases — and, later, deaths — 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 10.3 percent Friday with 112,634 tests reported. It was at 10.4 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, fell to 12.1 percent Friday. It was at 12.3 percent Thursday.
As of Thursday night, 5,453 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 1,153 people in the ICU and 703 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 19 deaths and 1,757 confirmed cases were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 3,559 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 18 people dying per day the week prior.
An average of 1,339 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 31 percent decrease from the prior week. But testing has also fallen 31 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 12 percent, the same as it was 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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