673 new cases of COVID-19, seven deaths in Illinois
Illinois officials reported 673 new cases of the new coronavirus Thursday, the biggest day-to-day increase so far. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 2,538.
The number of positive tests in the state has nearly doubled since Monday, when there were 1,285 confirmed cases.
The state also announced seven more deaths, bringing the total to 26. There have been 16,631 tests conducted.
Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the jump was expected. The total number of cases so far is below some of the early estimates, which she said is due to proactive actions taken by the administration such as Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
“We knew that these numbers were really going to grow like this,” Ezike said. “They’re slightly below predictions, which is good, and we hope we continue to enact measures that will help us fall under predictions.”
Earlier in the day, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city would indefinitely close its lakefront to the public to ensure compliance with the state’s stay-at-home order.
“Our order to temporarily close access to the lakefront and restrict gatherings has now become a necessary step in our effort to protect people and to get our city through this crisis as quickly as possible,” Lightfoot said.
Pritzker said he agreed with Lightfoot’s action, but that he was not considering similar action at the state level.
Pritzker also announced Thursday the launch of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership with the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, that will support nonprofits serving those impacted by the pandemic.
The fund will target groups that provide primary healthcare services, food, basic services and interim housing.
It will be led by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Gov. Pritzker’s sister. She said during Thursday’s press conference that the fund has already raised nearly $23 million in initial donations.
“In this moment of extraordinary demand, it’s imperative that these organizations have the resources they need to operate at the highest capacity,” Penny Pritzker said. “This vital emergency fund will support our fellow Illinoisans most in need and do so quickly and effectively.”
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