By Megan Hickey

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health Friday announced 2,264 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including 25 additional confirmed deaths. That’s the highest daily case count since May 24.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 202,691 cases, including 7,721 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 49,541 specimens for a total of 3,285,348. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from August 8 – August 14 is 4.1%.

As of Thursday night, 1,612 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 345 patients were in the ICU and 126 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The deaths were:

Bureau County: 1 female 80s
Cook County: 1 female 30s, 2 males 50s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
DeKalb County: 1 female 60s
DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 90
Iroquois County: 1 female 50s
Madison County: 2 females 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
Morgan County: 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s
Sangamon County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
Will County: 1 female 90s

Experts tell CBS 2’s Megan Hickey the numbers are distressing, and it should encourage people to take social distancing measures seriously. Ultimately, they say, you have to look at who is actually getting tested and how many of those tests are coming back positive.

“Let’s not panic but act quickly,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Khan said the headline of 2,264 new cases only tells us so much. You also have to keep the positivity rate in mind.

“When we put that number together most scientists have estimated that the positive case rate is an underestimate of 10 to 24 fold of the actual number of cases,” she said.

The Illinois positivity rate has been holding pretty steady at 4%. So how do we stack up? Mississippi’s is more than 21%, according to the most recent data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Florida is runner up with 17.7% positivity.  Idaho is just over 17%.

And all of those top positivity rate states are conducting significantly fewer tests per 1,000 people than Illinois.

“But what does the 4% mean in isolation when the number of cases is going up? That we’re probably still not testing enough,” Khan said.

Friday the state also announced that 14 counties are currently reported at a warning level. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

Those counties are: Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Jefferson, Kane, LaSalle, Moultrie, Perry, Union, Will.

These counties saw cases or outbreaks associated with weddings, businesses, birthday parties, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, bars, sports camps, and spread among members of the same household, IDPH said.

Public health officials are seeing people in some communities are not wearing masks, or if they are, they are being worn incorrectly.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Khan said.

The county level warnings are just that — warnings. Any mitigation efforts such as restricting restaurants, offices, or retail would be done at the regional level. The state is split into 11 regions. The city of Chicago, for example, is its own region.

Megan Hickey