The seven-day average for deaths of people with COVID-19 in Illinois has risen to 115, more than double where it stood two weeks ago, as the entire state moves into another phase of tightened restrictions meant to stem the pandemic’s strong fall resurgence.
State public health officials reported 126 additional deaths on Friday, a triple-digit death toll for the third consecutive day. The latest fatalities raise the statewide death toll to 11,304.
“If we all stay home as much as possible, if we all avoid the trips outside the house that we don’t need to take right now, we can fight this recent surge and turn things around for our health care workers and hospital systems who are facing an increasingly dangerous situation across the state,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus briefing in Chicago. “And we can potentially pull back on these mitigations for everyone before the December holidays.”
New restrictions taking effect Friday include reduced crowd limits at most retail stores and the shutdown of many public places including casinos and museums.
More than 6,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state for the second straight day, which is up more than 60% from a month earlier when 2,261 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Thursday night, 6,111 people were reported to be in the hospital with the illness, well above the spring high of 5,037, recorded on April 28.
Nearly 1,200 of the hospitalized patients were in intensive care units as of Thursday, and 604 were on ventilators.
State officials continue to sound the alarm about the potential for the fall coronavirus resurgence to overwhelm hospitals. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said some hospitals in the state over the past month have reported full emergency rooms or bed availability issues and the state agency is helping to coordinate “so that an ambulance is not taken to that hospital where there are already issues with beds.”
“There have been situations where the (emergency department) was full and they haven’t been able to move the patients from the E.D. to a bed because there’s not an available bed,” Ezike said, without providing the names of hospitals where this has occurred.
“So those requests have been made in many an occasion in the last month or so, so I think we have had to grant that in some situations. I can’t tell you the names now but I think many requests have been made and then we’ve tried to figure out when we just really had to, because that obviously increases transport time for ambulances.”
When hospitals are nearing reaching capacity, “what they’re looking to do is find out is there a way to take people who are in a less acute condition and perhaps move them to another facility, to another hospital, or to divert folks who might otherwise come to that hospital before they ever enter a hospital to go to another hospital,” Pritzker said.
The state on Friday also reported 13,012 newly confirmed and probable cases, raising the tally to 634,395 known and probable cases over the course of the pandemic.
The state also logged another daily testing high, with 116,024 tests reported Friday from the previous 24 hours. Nearly 9.6 million tests have been conducted in the state to date.
The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a share of total tests conducted was 11.5% for the period that ended Thursday, which has leveled out over the past week after weeks of steady growth.
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