CHICAGO (CBS) — Public health officials reported 12,702 new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Illinois on Thursday, the third day in a row Illinois has set a new daily case count record. Illinois also reported a new high of more than 5,200 coronavirus hospitalizations.

Illinois has now reported more than 12,000 new coronavirus cases four times in the past six days. The previous record was 12,657 new cases reported on Wednesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 43 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.

Since the start of the pandemic, IDPH has reported a total of 536,542 coronavirus cases, including 10,477 deaths.

IDPH also reported 100,617 new COVID-19 tests on Thursday, the second most reported in a single day so far.

The statewide seven-day average case positivity rate stands at 12.6%, more than 3.5 times the rate at the beginning of October.

As of Wednesday night, 5,258 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, the most ever. Illinois is averaging 4,585 coronavirus hospitalizations per day over the last week, up from an average of about 1,500 per day at the start of October. The state peaked at an average of 4,822 hospitalizations per day in early May.

In an effort to help get the pandemic under better control in Illinois, public health officials on Wednesday recommended people work with their employers to arrange to work from home if possible for the next three weeks.

“We ask employers to make accommodation for this. Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open,” IDPH said in a news release.

IDPH also is urging people to stay at home as much as possible for the next three weeks, leaving only for essential activities, such as work that can’t be performed at home, COVID-19 testing, buying groceries, visiting the pharmacy, or seeing a doctor.

Health experts also recommended avoiding public gatherings and limiting travel in and out of communities with a high risk of infection.

“With a rising prevalence of the virus, attending even small gatherings that mix households, or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous. Please, travel only if necessary,” IDPH said.

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