By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois coronavirus numbers continue to trend downward as the state confirmed 5,742 new COVID-19 cases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 156 additional deaths.

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Illinois continued to see improving trends in key COVID-19 metrics on Thursday, as the statewide infection rate reached its lowest point in nearly two months, and hospitalizations also declined.

On Thursday, IDPH reported 7,037 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, as well as 96 additional deaths.

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Earlier in the week, Gov. JB Pritzker said the slight increase in hospitalizations in the past few days was concerning, and part of the reason he is waiting at least until after the holidays to consider lifting current COVID-19 regulations across Illinois, even though some regions of the state already meet the requirements to move from Tier 3 to Tier 2 restrictions.

“Even if we brought the entire state or specific regions from Tier 3 to Tier 2, that would not open bars and restaurants for indoor service yet. We need to bring it down even further, and for a longer period of time,” Pritzker said. “We’ll get there, I believe, shortly, and we want to see how the Christmas and New Year’s holidays go.”

The state  reported 930,849 total cases, including 15,799 deaths. As of Thursday night, 4,352 people were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Out of that number, 928 patients were in the ICU and 538 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff