Chicago Sun-Times

Illi­nois sees high num­bers in both new COVID cases, tests, so pos­i­tiv­ity rate re­mains low

- mar­men­trout@sun­ | @mitchtrout BY MITCHELL ARMENTROUT, STAFF RE­PORTER

Public health of­fi­cials on Thurs­day an­nounced Illi­nois logged more than 2,000 new coronaviru­s cases for the third time in a week, but the state’s high test­ing ca­pac­ity sug­gests that ap­par­ently high num­ber isn’t cause for alarm.

The lat­est 2,056 cases of COVID-19 were con­firmed among 57,800 tests, low­er­ing the state’s av­er­age test­ing pos­i­tiv­ity rate over the last week to 3.6%, as low as it’s been since late July.

On av­er­age, more than 2,000 peo­ple have tested pos­i­tive statewide each day over the last two weeks. Nearly 2,300 new cases were be­ing con­firmed each day dur­ing the worst two-week stretch of the pan­demic in mid-May.

Only about 20,100 tests were be­ing ad­min­is­tered each day back then, though. Roughly 54,300 peo­ple have been tested daily on av­er­age over the last two weeks.

But the Illi­nois De­part­ment of Public Health also an­nounced the virus has killed 25 more Illi­noisans, as the virus has proven slightly more deadly in re­cent weeks.

COVID-19 has claimed about 21 lives statewide per day over the last two weeks, com­pared to an av­er­age daily death toll of about 17 over the first two weeks of Au­gust.

The lat­est vic­tims in­cluded two men in their 30s, one from DuPage County and an­other from DeKalb County. A to­tal of 8,392 res­i­dents have died with the virus through­out the pan­demic.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker praised the state’s progress on pos­i­tiv­ity rates this month dur­ing a coronaviru­s brief­ing on Wed­nes­day, as Illi­nois’ 11 re­gions have seen sta­ble or de­clin­ing num­bers fol­low­ing a mid-sum­mer resur­gence.

The Will-Kanka­kee county re­gion has fallen to 6.1% pos­i­tiv­ity from a high last month over 8% that prompted the Demo­cratic gov­er­nor to ban in­door ser­vice at bars and restau­rants. Bar­ring a se­vere uptick Fri­day, that ser­vice will be al­lowed to re­sume.

But Pritzker cau­tioned that “no mat­ter what your pos­i­tiv­ity level is, the virus is still out there.”

“It’s just a ques­tion of: Can you keep your­self safe? Are you wear­ing the right pro­tec­tive gear?” the gov­er­nor said Wed­nes­day. “The idea that bars and restau­rants can be just fully loaded at their orig­i­nal ca­pac­ity — I think we’ve all de­ter­mined that while this virus is go­ing on, while we don’t have an ef­fec­tive treat­ment or vac­cine, do­ing that is lit­er­ally cre­at­ing su­per­spreader events.”

Chicago is at 5% pos­i­tiv­ity, sub­ur­ban Cook County at 5.3% and all other metro area re­gions are be­low 6%.

Since March, more than 4.9 mil­lion COVID-19 tests have been ad­min­is­tered, with at least 268,207 peo­ple con­firmed to carry the virus.

As of Wed­nes­day night, 1,558 Illi­nois coronaviru­s pa­tients were hos­pi­tal­ized, with 359 in in­ten­sive care units and 144 on ven­ti­la­tors.

 ??  ?? A se­cu­rity guard ad­min­is­ters a tem­per­a­ture check at the en­trance to the Leighton Crim­i­nal Court­house in July.
A se­cu­rity guard ad­min­is­ters a tem­per­a­ture check at the en­trance to the Leighton Crim­i­nal Court­house in July.

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