CHICAGO (CBS) — For the sixth day in a row, Illinois is reporting more than 6,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the state’s average case positivity rate and hospitalizations from the virus continue to reach levels not seen in more than four months.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 6,222 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, as well as 20 additional deaths.
The new cases account for 9.1% of the 68,118 new tests reported on Monday. The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate in Illinois now stands at 8.1%, the first time it’s been above 8% since late May.
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Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 423,502 coronavirus cases, including 9,810 deaths.
“It’s nothing less than tragic that we have lost so many lives to this deadly virus, and I grieve with everyone that has been affected,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at the governor’s daily COVID briefing on Monday. “I’m very sorry for those who’ve also had to bear the painful messages, like ‘They were already very old,’ or ‘They had multiple medical conditions,’ as if that makes this okay.”
As of Sunday night, 3,371 coronavirus patients were being treated in Illinois hospitals, including 722 people in intensive care, and 298 on ventilators. Those figures are the highest they’ve been since late May and early June.
Starting Wednesday, all 11 regions of Illinois will be under tougher COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to climb. On Sunday, the governor’s office announced Region 2 in north-central Illinois (Rock Island, Henry, Bureau, Putnam, Kendall, Grundy, Mercer, Knox, Henderson, Warren, McDonough, Fulton, Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Tazwell, McLean, Woodford, Livingston, and Lasalle counties) became the last region of the state to face new mitigations, after its average positivity rate surpassed 8% for three days in a row. It’s average positivity rate now stands at 9.7%.
“Nothing we can do will immediately reduce the positivity rates or hospitalizations, but our resurgence mitigations are designed to have an impact over several weeks, as long as everyone takes some responsibility for masking, social distancing, and following the CDC and IDPH guidelines,” Pritzker said Monday afternoon. “Every region is going the wrong direction. We have got to make sure that everybody’s following the rules here. … Please, please, please to everybody: wear a mask. Wear a mask and keep socially distance. If we did that, I promise you we can bring these positivity rates down all across the state, and particularly in the rural areas which are being most terribly affected right now.”
When the new rules take effect Wednesday in Region 2, the entire state will be facing tighter restrictions; including a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants; a limit of the lesser of 25 people or 25% room capacity for public gatherings; shutting down party buses; and requiring bars, restaurants and casinos to close at 11 p.m. Reservations also will be required for all guests at bars and restaurants.
The new capacity limits do not apply to schools or polling places.