State health officials on Saturday announced 11,891 confirmed and probable COVID-19 infections and an additional 127 coronavirus-related deaths.
Saturday’s new cases accounted for roughly 9.9% of the 120,284 tests reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day, keeping the seven-day statewide positivity rate at 11.5% — a full percentage point lower than where the state checked in a week ago.
However, that number, which experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading, is still up from 6.1% a month ago.
Illinois has now logged nearly as many coronavirus cases over the first three weeks of November (about 228,300) than it did over the first seven months of the pandemic.
And though Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday that he saw a possible “pause in our upward movement,” the state on Friday entered Tier 3 of the Democratic governor’s mitigation plan — the strictest set of restrictions implemented since this start of summer.
Under this tier, there’s a 25% capacity limit on big-box stores and other retailers and museums, theaters and casinos across Illinois have been shut down.
In short, the new guidelines can be reduced to one simple idea: “If you don’t need to do it, don’t,” Pritzker said.
The state’s new restrictions come after several local officials, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, issued stay-at-home advisories to curb the spread of the virus with the holidays quickly approaching.
The fall surge in cases has led to Illinois hospitals treating the most COVID-19 patients they’ve ever had. As of Friday night, 6,175 beds were taken up by COVID-19 patients in Illinois hospitals, with 1,173 of those patients in intensive-care units and 595 on ventilators, officials said.
The Chicagoland area accounted for 50 of Saturday’s 127 deaths, including a Cook County man in his 30s. And only 18 of those deaths reported statewide were among people under the age of 60.
Illinois logged 1,673 coronavirus-related deaths this month, which is about 14.6% of the state’s pandemic death toll of 11,430.
The state has administered more than 9.7 million coronavirus tests since March, with 646,283 people confirmed to have the respiratory virus — about 5.1% of the state’s population.