Pritzker: ‘We are in Fact Bending the Curve’

New statewide totals: 23,247 cases, 868 deaths

On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported an additional 1,222 cases of the new coronavirus and 74 deaths, bringing the totals in Illinois to 23,247 and 868, respectively.

While the number of cases and deaths continue to increase, the state is making strides in its fight against COVID-19.

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During his daily press briefing Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an increase in the state’s doubling rate, which refers to the number of days it takes for cases or deaths related to the virus double. “The higher that number is, the slower your growth, which means the flatter your curve,” he said. “At the beginning of this pandemic our doubling rates were very low.”

On March 22, Illinois had a doubling rate of just over two days for the number of cases, and by April 1, that number had risen to 3.6 days. As of April 12, that rate stood at just over eight days, according to Pritzker. The doubling rate for deaths has also increased, from 2.5 days at the beginning of April to 5.5. days now, Pritzker said.

“To be clear: there is nothing good about twice as many people having this virus or, worse, dying from it no matter how long the increase takes,” Pritzker said. “The fact that our doubling rate continues to increase in every metric is a clear demonstration there’s a deceleration of virus transmission. We are in fact bending the curve.”

Doubling rates aside, Pritzker said the “leading indicator” of the state’s progress is hospitalization data. On April 6, there were 3,680 patients hospitalized because of COVID-19, and as of Tuesday, that number had risen to 4,283.

While that number is increasing, so too is the state’s overall hospital capacity, according to Pritzker. “Hospitals are working every day to add beds,” he said. In August 2019, the state had roughly 25,500 hospital beds, according to Pritzker. As of Monday, there are more than 30,000 beds, of which nearly 3,000 are in intensive care units, according to the governor’s office.

Pritzker also announced that demand for ICU beds and ventilators by COVID-19 patients is decreasing. As of Monday, roughly 40% of the state’s 2,987 ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, down from 43% a week ago, according to Pritzker. Patients on ventilators dropped from 29% last week to 25% this week. “Both of those numbers are evidence of positive trends,” he said.

While that data indicates progress, Pritzker issued a warning, but did not indicate whether the stay-at-home order will be expanded beyond April 30.

“Folks, this curve may not flatten, and it may go up again if we don’t adhere to the stay-at-home order. We need to stay the course for now for our efforts to truly remain effective,” he said. “What we have to do is to design a new normal: a way of life to carry us to the other side. And while that day is not here yet, my team and I working to bring that about as are experts around the state and globe. No one looks forward to that day more than I do.”

Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz (773) 509-5452  [email protected]

Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources

Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including: 

—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue

If you think you have COVID-19:

Call you doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.

Additional resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Illinois’ COVID-19 website
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IPDH COVID-19 email link
City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link

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