Illinois has hit a new daily COVID-19 testing landmark, completing more than 20,000 tests in a single 24-hour period for the first time during the pandemic.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced that Illinois is currently fifth among all 50 states in the total number of tests completed, and also ranks second among the 10 most populous states in the number of tests completed per capita over the past week.
“Even if we are one of the best states in the nation on testing, we know it’s not enough to be where we need to be on a longer time frame,” the governor said during his daily press briefing. “I’m committed to continue our successes on this front because it is fundamental to our economic future.”
Pritzker had previously set a statewide goal of 10,000 COVID-19 tests completed per day, which the state reached late last month. His announcement Friday came as Illinois recorded 2,887 new coronavirus cases and 130 additional deaths.
To date, Illinois has seen 73,760 total cases of COVID-19 and 3,241 deaths related to the virus.
While Illinois has hit a new high in daily testing, the governor said that total could increase further when expected shipments of testing supplies from the federal government begin arriving.
Pritzker said Illinois has been promised 620,000 individual swabs and 465,000 vials for viral transport medium (VTM) by the end of May. The first shipment was supposed to arrive at the start of the month, but is now expected to arrive Sunday.
“When they arrive, those swabs will be an important part of our further testing growth,” the governor said.
Illinois has increased its total number of public testing sites from 177 on April 30 to 244 as of Friday.
Pritzker on Friday also discussed briefly the new reopening plan for Chicago announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Like the statewide approach, Lightfoot revealed a five-step plan to gradually reopen the city as the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations begin to decline.
Pritzker said he believes Chicago’s plan will fit “nicely into the framework we (state officials) put forward,” and encouraged other municipalities to consider aligning their own timelines for reopening within the statewide plan.
Lightfoot on Friday also set a goal of opening public schools on time this fall, even if that means using an alternate day system where some students would go to class on one day and others would go another day to avoid putting too many people in contact with one another.
“We have to do that in a way that is smart and safe – not only for the children, but also for the entire school community: the teachers, the janitors, the lunchroom cooks. I can envision a world, certainly by the start of school in September, that we can do that,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s lots of different options on the table. Having alternate days. Kind of a platoon circumstance. Really limiting the number of kids that are in a classroom at any given time.”
Asked about this goal, Pritzker said, “We all want very badly for schools to open,” but added it’s not yet clear if that is realistic.
“None of us knows what the future exactly holds,” he said, “but we have a great hope and desire for reopening schools when they normally would.”
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.
—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