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COVID-19 cases nearly double in Illinois, now up to 288

COVID-19 cases nearly double in Illinois, now up to 288

Officials announced Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois has nearly doubled, with 128 new cases reported across the state.

There are now 288 confirmed cases in 17 counties, including Kendall and Madison counties, which reported their first positive tests Wednesday.

The spike is partly due to an increase in the ability to test patients, but Gov. JB Pritzker said during a press conference Wednesday in Murphysboro that it is also because of the general spread of the virus.

“I want to be clear, Illinois is being recognized as a national leader in response to COVID-19, but even so, these numbers will get much worse in Illinois before they will get better,” he said.

Of the new cases, 20 are tied to an outbreak at a long-term care facility in DuPage County. The total cases associated with the facility’s outbreak is now 42. Those individuals, which include 30 residents and 12 staff members, are currently being treated in isolation.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the large increase in positive cases on Wednesday was likely just the beginning.

“I don’t say this lightly, but unfortunately, the grim truth is these numbers will continue to grow significantly. As will, likely, the unfortunate statistic of fatalities,” she said.

The state reported its first death Tuesday.

A total of 2,052 have been tested for the virus.

Pritzker expects testing capabilities to ramp up soon.

He is expecting “thousands and thousands and thousands more tests” from the federal government in the coming days, in addition to thousands of tests that are being provided by private companies. The commercial labs already live in the state include NorthShore University HealthSystem, Mayo, Quest, LabCorp and ARUP.

“CEOs around the country, especially ones that have facilities and do business in the state of Illinois and know us, have been very willing to step up and help us out to take pieces of their supply and send it to us, even separate from what they’re doing across the rest of the United States,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker also signed an emergency declaration Wednesday that will enable haulers to get free overweight trucking permits from the state to allow for the transportation of emergency relief supplies in response to the pandemic.

“We want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can to assist during this unprecedented time and ensure that the supply chain remains strong,” acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement.

While Illinois has mandated the closure of all schools, bars and dine-in restaurants, Pritzker told reporters he was not ready to implement a shelter-in-place order as seen in other cities across the country. He added the situation is being monitored on an “ongoing basis.”


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