Illinois appears to have passed the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, with the rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19 dropping significantly and the number of Illinois residents who are hospitalized with the virus at a six-week low, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.
It is “great news” that all four regions of Illinois remain set to move into the third phase of the state’s reopening plan Friday, which will allow a number of businesses to reopen and gatherings of up to 10 people, Pritzker said.
But Pritzker warned Illinois residents not to let their guard down.
“The pandemic is still here,” Pritzker said.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Illinois residents should be heartened by the fact that although 780 Illinoisans died the week ending May 16, that was the first week where the state recorded fewer deaths than the previous week.
There were 613 deaths in Illinois during the week that ended Friday, according to state data.
“I am hopeful that this fact is the beginning of a downward trend,” Ezike said.
Pritzker attributed the progress to the increase in people wearing face coverings.
“Take note that along with social distancing, face coverings can make all the difference in protecting each other,” Pritzker said. “And it appears to be working. Since we implemented that one change, we saw all the numbers, that had already stabilized, begin to fall.”
State data released Tuesday recorded 39 deaths from the coronavirus between Monday and Tuesday, along with 1,178 more confirmed cases of the respiratory virus. Ezike warned that data may be skewed by the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which reduced testing availability and could delay reports of illnesses and deaths.
In the 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday, labs reported running tests on 17,230 specimens, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The statewide positivity rate is currently 9.2%, while the rate for the northeastern region that covers Cook County is 14.5%, according to state data.
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 your 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
—IDPH 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