CHICAGO (CBS) — After fixing a technical issue that had delayed reporting results from tens of thousands of COVID-19 tests this week, public health officials announced new records in both confirmed cases and overall daily tests reported on Friday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced results for 149,273 new tests on Friday, by far the most tests announced in a single day. That staggeringly high number of test results included 5,368 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, for a one-day positive test rate of only 3.6%, far lower than the 6.5% positive test rate on Wednesday, when the state announced 2,128 new cases from only 32,751 tests.
The new records for both daily testing and confirmed cases were due to a significant backlog in reporting test results earlier this week, after the state’s data processing system reached capacity, slowing down the public reporting of results. After two system upgrades, IDPH said it has eliminated the backlog, and significantly increased processing capacity. The state said the slowdown in public reporting never affected the reporting of individual results to the people who were tested.
The previous one-day record for confirmed cases in Illinois was the 4,014 cases announced on May 12, when cases were surging in Chicago. That total came from only 29,266 tests, for a positive rate of 13.7% on May 12.
In total, Illinois has reported 245,371 confirmed COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day statewide positive test rate for the past week stands at 4.1%, compared to 3.9% a month ago, and 2.5% in early July.
IDPH also announced 29 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday, for a total of 8,143 since the start of the pandemic.
As of Thursday night, 1,621 virus patients were being treated in Illinois hospitals, including 360 in intensive care, and 155 on ventilators. The state’s coronavirus hospitalization figures have been relatively flat this summer, even as overall cases were rising steadily from mid-June through late August.
So far, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients have recovered from the disease, with a 96% statewide recovery rate as of Friday. The state’s recovery rate calculates the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, and have survived at least 42 days after their test.