CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois reported 10,376 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, the first time the state has reported more than 10,000 daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
The new cases top the old record set Thursday, when the state reported 9,935 new infections. Illinois has now reported at least 6,000 new cases for 10 days in a row.
IDPH also reported 49 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday.
Since the start of the pandemic, IDPH has reported a total of 465,540 cases, including 10,079 deaths
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, with the way things are going, “the next several months are going to be very tough.”
“They’re going to be very hard, but how tough and how hard and how bad it is still depends on us,” she said. “So let’s please think beyond ourselves, and do what we can to protect all of us. Again, that involves masking, maintaining your distance, washing your hands, and please get your flu shot.”
The state’s seven-day average case positivity rate now stands at 9.6%, up from 9.1% one day earlier, and the highest it’s been since late May, when it was 12%. Illinois also reported a new record for testing on Friday, with 98,401 new tests in the past 24 hours. However, public health officials have said recent increases in testing have been outpaced by new infections.
As of Thursday night, 4,090 coronavirus patients were being treated in Illinois hospitals, including 786 in intensive care, and 339 patients on ventilators. It’s the first time Illinois has surpassed 4,000 hospitalizations since May 20.
IDPH said 75 counties and the city of Chicago are now at warning level for a resurgence of the virus. The “warning level” list includes: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Chicago, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Effingham, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Madison, Marion, Mason, Massac, McHenry, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford.
Chicago alone is now averaging 1,400 new coronavirus cases a day. Over the summer, there were only 184 on average.
Chicago ZIP codes seeing the largest number of cases include 60629 and 60632 on the Southwest Side, and also 60639 on the Northwest Side.
Gov. JB Pritzker said, while officials knew this summer that there was likely to be another surge of the virus in the fall, and prepared for it in every way we could, they didn’t expect the second wave to be as bad as it has been.
“The idea that it could move this quickly, the numbers up now above 10,000 cases in a day, it’s frightening. So I can’t tell you what next week or the week after are going to look like,” he said
Every region of Illinois currently is under tighter COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars.
Pritzker on Thursday warned he might impose tougher regional coronavirus restrictions, or even go back to earlier statewide restrictions if the state can’t bring the new surge of the virus under control.
On Friday, Pritzker declined to specify what new statewide restrictions he might impose, saying it’s too soon to know while the state is still evaluating how the regional restrictions are working. The governor said he’s not currently considering reinstating a statewide stay-at-home order in the coming days or week, but said he doesn’t know yet what the current surge will look like in two or three weeks.
Asked if it’s possible he might order every region into Tier 2 regional mitigations by Thanksgiving, meaning a limit of 10 people at public gatherings, down from 25, Pritzker said “I can’t even answer that.”
“I mean this virus moves very quickly sometimes,” he said. “We’re on the verge. I mean, we’ve been moving in a linear fashion, but we’re definitely potentially coming to an inflection point where it could go exponential if it does go exponential. If it does, then we’ll be in a world of hurt.”
The governor said that’s what happened in the first wave of the pandemic in spring, when the state’s positivity rate went as high as 18%.
As for the possibility of limiting bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery only, Pritzker said he’s hopeful limiting them to outdoor dining will be effective in reducing infection rates, because shutting down indoor dining has proven to limit the amount of exposure to the virus.
“Outdoor is hard to do as we get further into winter, but the fact is outdoor with a lot of ventilation can be an effective way for people to continue having service,” he said.
Meantime, the state has published new data online regarding statewide contact tracing efforts.
Pritzker said 57 of the 97 county and local health departments across Illinois have reached out to at least 90% of individuals in their jurisdiction who have tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug. 1 and Oct. 24; and 86 of the 97 have reached out to at least 75% of those people.
The governor said Chicago and Cook County are lagging much further behind the rest of the state, but are working hard to catch up on contact tracing.
According to data provided by IDPH, officials in suburban Cook County have reached out to 19% of the people in its jurisdiction who have tested positive for the virus between Aug. 1 and Oct. 24, while Chicago has reached out to 48%.
Pritzker said statewide, local and county health departments have about 3,300 paid and volunteer contact tracers at work, close to the goal of 3,800. He said Cook County and Chicago are still in the process of hiring hundreds more, and he’s hoping to surpass the state’s goal of 3,800 total contact tracers.