Illinois reports single-day high in COVID-19 cases, tests completed
Illinois officials announced a single-day record number of COVID-19 cases Wednesday, which Gov. JB Pritzker attributed in part to more testing.
There were 2,049 new cases of COVID-19, which passes the previous single-day high of 1,842 from last Friday. The state also conducted 9,349 tests, which Pritzker said is the highest number since the pandemic started.
“You’re starting to see some successes,” he said about the state’s testing capacity. “You shouldn’t be surprised if that testing number continues to go up.”
Pritzker announced that two new drive-thru testing sites will open by the end of the week, bringing the total number of state-run drive-thru sites to five. The sites will be able to process a combined 2,900 tests per day.
Drive-thru testing is open to any person with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they do not have a doctor’s order. Tests are free, though a photo identification is required.
“More widespread testing is a key goal for combating COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “It’s a vital feature of our long-term path to building a new normal.”
A total of 164,346 tests have been completed.
There were 98 COVID-19 deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 1,565. The 2,049 new cases bring the state’s total to 35,108 in 96 counties.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at least 2,500 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus. Potentially eight of those workers have died, she said.
Healthcare workers can include anyone from hospital nurses to front desk attendants and nursing home workers, Ezike said.
Pritzker also outlined the latest efforts to acquire and distribute personal protective equipment. He said the state has now distributed more than 15 million items across the state, including 7.7 million surgical masks, nearly 1.7 N95 masks and over 6.4 million gloves.
Additionally, outstanding orders are set to arrive in the coming weeks, which Pritzker said includes 25.5 million N95 and KN95 masks, 25 million surgical and general medical masks, 8.4 million gowns and coveralls, 14 million gloves and 7.5 million face shields and goggles.
Pritzker said there are no final decisions yet on extending the stay-at-home order set to expire at the end of the month, nor what changes may come if it is extended. He told reporters that discussions continue on how the state can reopen in some areas without risking future spread of the virus.
“Like everybody, I want to be back to normal as fast as possible,” Pritzker said. “I think we’re all recognizing that normal is going to look a little bit different going forward until there’s a vaccine.”
Asked about his concern for Metro East residents with the news that Missouri is set to reopen nearly all businesses by May 4, Pritzker said he has been vocal about his concerns of what reopening the economy too soon could mean for mitigating the virus.
Like Iowa, Pritzker said Missouri officials were not interested in joining a partnership with Illinois and six other Midwestern states on reopening their economies after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
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