Illi­nois COVID cases jump to 6-week high; travel quar­an­tine or­der ex­tended to sub­urbs

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCHELL ARMENTROUT, STAFF REPORTER mar­men­trout@sun­ | @mitchtrout

Pub­lic health of­fi­cials Fri­day an­nounced an­other 1,384 peo­ple have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 in Illi­nois, the high­est daily to­tal re­ported by the state in more than six weeks.

But those new cases were de­tected among the lat­est record-high batch of 43,692 coro­n­avirus test re­sults re­ported to the Illi­nois De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health, low­er­ing the state’s test­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rate in the last week to 3%.

That rate is still up from 2.5% last week, a “mild uptick” that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said wor­ries him that Illi­nois could be on the brink of a case surge such as those seen in dozens of other states.

Of­fi­cials also an­nounced the lat­est 22 deaths at­trib­uted to COVID-19, rais­ing the state’s death toll to 7,272. And the health de­part­ment tweaked its es­ti­mated num­bers of “prob­a­ble” but untested cases of COVID-19: an ad­di­tional 193 deaths and 1,175 non­fa­tal in­fec­tions.

At least 159,334 peo­ple have tested pos­i­tive among al­most 2.2 mil­lion who have been tested since March, with a 95% re­cov­ery rate.

Most of the state’s coro­n­avirus deaths — 3,974 of them — have been tied to nurs­ing homes and other long-term care fa­cil­i­ties, which have seen at least 23,604 cases.

But a grow­ing per­cent­age of the lat­est in­fec­tions, which of­fi­cials have said ac­counts for the re­cent uptick in cases, have been de­tected among young peo­ple in the 18-29 age range. The youngest fa­tal­ity re­ported Fri­day was a Cook County woman in her 30s.

Af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing peak month of May, when of­fi­cials an­nounced an av­er­age of about 2,172 new virus cases per day, the state sur­passed 1,000 cases in a day only twice in June.

That now has hap­pened six times in July. The state is av­er­ag­ing about 950 new cases per day for the month.

It’s still a far cry from the rag­ing out­breaks that have roiled dozens of states, mostly span­ning the South and West, dur­ing the last month. But those states now in­clude Illi­nois’

Mid­west­ern neigh­bor Iowa.

The Hawk­eye State was added to Mayor Lori Light­foot’s travel quar­an­tine list ear­lier this week, a 17-state swath of hotspots from which trav­el­ers — both vis­i­tors and re­turn­ing res­i­dents — have been or­dered to self­iso­late for two weeks.

Cook County of­fi­cials an­nounced Fri­day that an iden­ti­cal or­der is now in place for most of sub­ur­ban Cook County.

“We have come a long way in Cook County and Illi­nois and we want to keep it that way,” Cook County De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health se­nior med­i­cal of­fi­cer Dr. Rachel Rubin said in a state­ment. “It is sum­mer and we know peo­ple want to travel, but we have to re­main vig­i­lant to keep our gains and avoid hav­ing to close places we’ve only just re­opened.”

The or­der does not ap­ply to res­i­dents of Evanston and Skokie, which each have their own state-cer­ti­fied lo­cal health depart­ments. Skokie health di­rec­tor Dr. Cather­ine Counard said her north­ern sub­urb has “a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion on this mat­ter.”

“In Skokie, we think the more im­por­tant mes­sages are that ev­ery­one should stay home if sick, main­tain so­cial dis­tanc­ing and wear face cov­er­ings in pub­lic set­tings, and wash our hands fre­quently,” Counard said in an email. “This is true no mat­ter where a per­son is — sim­ply spend­ing time in an­other state, with­out en­gag­ing in risky be­hav­iors, would not be ex­pected to in­crease your risk of COVID-19 in­fec­tion.”

Evanston of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

In ad­di­tion to Iowa, the travel quar­an­tine list in­cludes Alabama, Arkansas, Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Florida, Ge­or­gia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, North Carolina, Ne­vada, South Carolina, Ten­nessee, Texas, Utah and Ok­la­homa.

As of Thurs­day night, 1,431 COVID-19 pa­tients were hos­pi­tal­ized across Illi­nois, with 309 in in­ten­sive care units and 128 on ven­ti­la­tors.


Med­i­cal per­son­nel clean and prep for tests at a mo­bile COVID-19 test­ing sta­tion at Ed­ward Coles School in South Chicago on July 8.

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