More than 9,000 Illinois residents have died as a result of COVID-19, health officials announced Tuesday.
The grim milestone comes seven months after the state’s first virus-related death was reported in March.
“More than 9,000 Illinoisans — our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, family, friends, and neighbors — have had their lives cut short by COVID-19, leaving tens of thousands more to grieve loved ones lost too soon,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 29 virus-related deaths Tuesday, bringing the statewide COVID-19 death toll to 9,026 since March 17, when a Chicago woman in her 60s became the first person reported dead as a result of the virus in Illinois.
Eleven Cook County residents were among the deaths reported Tuesday, including six women ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s and five men in their 60s to 80s.
“As we pause today to mourn these individual and collective losses, may we find strength in the tools we have to protect our communities: wearing a mask, watching our distance, and respecting public health and each other,” Pritzker said. “My heart breaks for all those who have lost a loved one in this battle we never asked to fight – may their memories be for a blessing.”
Officials also reported 2,851 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, marking the seventh consecutive day of at least 2,500 cases statewide. Since the pandemic began, Illinois has reported 324,743 infections from the virus.
As of Monday night, 1,848 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, and of those, 406 were in intensive care units and 160 were on ventilators, according to IDPH.
“After nine months of battling this virus and hearing the updates each day, many of us forget that the hospitalizations and deaths are more than just numbers,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement. “They are our family, friends, and loved ones who have been directly impacted by COVID-19, which continues to spread.”
The state’s seven-day statewide positivity rate for total tests is 4.5%. A week ago, that rate was 3.4%, according to IDPH data.
Labs across the state processed 55,993 specimens in the past 24 hours, the IDPH said Tuesday, bringing the number of tests processed to 6,411,254.