CHICAGO (CBS) — Public health officials Saturday reported 6,161 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most ever reported in one day in Illinois, as the state’s positivity rate continues to climb to levels not seen in more than four months.
The new cases account for 7.4% of the 83,517 new tests reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Saturday. The statewide seven-day average positivity rate now stands at 6.1%, the highest it’s been since June 2, when the rate was 7%.
IDPH also reported 63 new virus deaths on Saturday, the second most since June 24.
Since the start of the pandemic, IDPH has reported a total of 370,194 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 9,481 deaths.
As of Friday night 2,616 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, the most since June 5, when there were 2,702 virus hospitalizations in the state.
Jared Hoffa has been battling COVID-19 for three weeks, and is hoping to avoid the hospital.
Hoffa is used to hosting live streaming shows; his Gaming Under the Influence, a retro video game competition, is a cocktail of energy and adrenaline. So was he, until about three weeks ago, when coronavirus shorted out his drive and his health.
“An hour ago, I couldn’t get out of bed,” he said. “I was running 10 to 20 miles a week. I can’t even walk eight blocks, and even after we’re done with this interview, I have to go back to bed so I can continue to recover to continue on.”
Hoffa said he’s part of the growing number of people contracting COVID during a second surge of the pandemic, despite wearing a mask and being careful while at work or working on his next streaming project. He said he recently tested negative, but continues to fight the lingering effects.
“What I’ve learned is … there’s some people in my age group who get something called long-term COVID, where you fight the initial disease. Throughout the day, you’ll just not be able to breathe, not be able to walk. You just, you feel like having an anxiety attack on top of everything,” he said.
Of the COVID-19 patients in the hospital in Illinois as of Friday night, 560 were in intensive care, and 222 were on ventilators, some with symptoms like tightness in the chest, chills and fever.
Sonny Sultani was infected in the first surge of COVID, diagnosed this past spring. Seven months later, Sultani is back to work at his digital marketing agency, 120/80, but he said he’s not entirely back to 100%, and the second surge “scares the hell out of me.”
“I still have anxiety over it,” he said, adding it’s possible he could get the virus again. He wonders why people haven’t been trying harder to stop the virus’ current spread.
By one measure, COVID-19’s rate of spread in Illinois is now near the top 10 in the nation.
“Come on, we just went through this. How can we have not learned what we just learned five, six months ago?” he said.
“It’s rough, and I want everyone to take this seriously. I want us to get through this, and I know we will, but we have to be smart,” Hoffa said.
Sultani and Hoffa both said they’re living a health lifestyle. Neither had any underlying health condition that put them at greater risk from the virus.
Both are part of a growing group who might not end up in the hospital, but still end up with lingering health issues, some lasting months. They said, for anyone who thinks COVID-19 acts just like the flu, the flu doesn’t linger for weeks or months.