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Coronavirus

Illinois surpasses 600,000 cases and 11,000 COVID-19 deaths

The death rate in rural Illinois counties now twice as high as metro areas, governor says

As a public service, Morris Hospital & Shaw Media have partnered to provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 8,922 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 – the fewest cases since Nov. 4 – and 140 additional deaths Wednesday.

Wednesday's death count is the sixth highest in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker said some projections indicate that this most recent surge of COVID-19 could result in four to five times more deaths than the first wave of infections in the spring if new restrictions are not followed.

This is a "risk that grows as hospitals become increasingly filled by more patients and as more of our heroic health care workers get sick, leading to staffing shortages," Pritzker said. "Without new interventions, projections show that between 17,000 and 45,000 additional deaths in Illinois would occur between now and March 1st of 2021."

"We can't let that happen and we already know exactly how to save thousands of lives," he said. "Stay home when you can, avoid gathering, wear a mask, keep your distance, get your flu shot."

The death rate in rural Illinois counties is now twice as high as metro areas, dispelling the myth that COVID-19 is only a concern for densely populated cities, Pritzker said.

The seven-day rolling average of Illinois’ positivity rate decreased to 11.9%. The state received the results of 103,569 COVID-19 tests in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday afternoon.

Signs that the state's positivity rate has begun to flatten out over the past few days has given Pritzker a "glimmer of hope," he said, before adding "I have been fooled before."

Illinois now has seen 606,771 cases of the virus, and 11,014 people have died, surpassing two significant milestones of 600,000 total cases and 11,000 total deaths. The state has conducted 9,359,227 tests since the start of the pandemic.

As of late Tuesday, Illinois had 5,953 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, setting another state record. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Illinois have increased each day for 24 consecutive days.

Of those hospitalizations, 1,146 were in intensive care units, and 547 were on ventilators.

As all of Illinois heads into Tier 3 mitigation measures beginning Friday, Pritzker was asked what it would take for him to order another stay-at-home order like the one in March.

In response, Pritzker said that if state went through "at least one and likely two incubation periods" without seeing the curve of infection rates start to flatten, that would be a trigger for further mitigations and, potentially, another stay-at-home order.

The IDPH's incubation or "monitoring" periods last for 14 days, according to its current mitigation plan.

During her portion of the news conference, IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike directly addressed those Illinois residents who may still believe that COVID-19 is a "hoax."

"If people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend this virus doesn't exist or it's not that bad, I guess they're free to do so," Ezike said. "What you should not be able to do is risk the health of other individuals and everyone that you come in contact with because you won't wear a mask or because you won't stop hosting or going to events or gatherings or because you won't socially distance."

Regional update: Currently, all 11 of the state's health regions are under additional mitigation measures from the IDPH, and as of Friday, all 11 regions will be under Tier 3 mitigations.

Regional data from IDPH remains on a three-day lag.

The North Suburban region (McHenry and Lake counties) has seen nine days of positivity increases and seven days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate decreased significantly to 16.2%. Currently, 30% of medical/surgical beds are available and 44% of ICU beds.

Within this region, McHenry County's seven-day positivity rate average is 20.2%. Lake County, which does about two-thirds of the testing in the region, is reporting a rolling average of 14.8%.

The West Suburban region (DuPage and Kane counties) has seen eight days of positivity increases and four days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate decreased to 15.3%. Currently, 23% of medical/surgical beds are available and 33% of ICU beds.

The South Suburban region (Will and Kankakee counties) has seen nine days of positivity increases and seven days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate increased to 20.7%.

Currently, 11% of the region's medical/surgical beds are available and 16% of ICU beds, below the state's minimum threshold of 20%. Per IDPH, there are 23 ICU beds available out of 162 for Will and Kankakee counties combined.

The North region (Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties) has seen seven days of positivity increases and six days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate decreased to 19.9%. Currently, 34% of medical/surgical beds are available and 37% of ICU beds.

The North-Central region (Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties) has seen eight days of positivity increases and nine days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate decreased slightly to 16.9%. Currently, 36% of medical/surgical beds are available and 36% of ICU beds.

Chicago has seen eight days of positivity increases and eight days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate remained the same at 15.5%. Currently, 27% of medical/surgical beds are available and 32% of ICU beds.

Suburban Cook County has seen nine days of positivity increases and nine days of hospital admission increases. The region's positivity rate increased slightly to 16%. Currently, 24% of medical/surgical beds are available and 28% of ICU beds.

To see how other regions across the state are doing, see the full IDPH dashboard here.

Newly reported deaths include:

• Adams County: 1 male 90s

• Bureau County: 1 female 90s

• Champaign County: 1 female 100+

• Clinton County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

• Coles County: 1 male 90s

• Cook County: 2 males 30s, 1 female 40s, 2 males 40s, 2 females 50s, 4 males 50s, 7 females 60s, 13 males 60s, 10 females 70s, 9 males 70s, 6 females 80s, 13 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 4 males 90s, 1 male 100+

• DeWitt County: 1 female 90s

• DuPage County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s, 2 males 80s, 2 males 90s

• Effingham County: 1 male 90s

• Fayette County: 1 male 80s

• Franklin County: 1 male 90s

• Greene County: 1 male 90s

• Jackson County: 1 male 70s

• Kendall County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 90s

• Knox County: 1 female 90s

• Lake County: 1 male 90s

• La Salle County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s, 1 female 90s

• Livingston County: 1 male 60s

• Logan County: 1 male 80s

• Macon County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s

• McDonough County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s

• McHenry County: 1 male 70s, 2 females 90s

• Ogle County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s

• Peoria County: 2 females 80s

• Sangamon County: 1 male 80s

• St. Clair County: 1 female 70s

• Stephenson County: 1 female 80s

• Tazewell County: 1 male 90s

• Vermilion County: 1 male 70s

• Warren County: 1 female 80s

• Wayne County: 1 male 90s

• Whiteside County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s

• Will County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s

• Williamson County: 1 male 70s

• Winnebago County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s

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