Illinois Coronavirus Update Aug. 26: 225,627 Cases, 7,954 Deaths

J. Ryne Danielson
·11 min read

ILLINOIS — State officials on Wednesday announced 2,157 new cases of the coronavirus and another 37 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. The statewide totals now stand at 225,627 confirmed infections and 7,954 known deaths. Another 1,417 probable cases and 209 probable deaths are not included in the official totals.

The latest deaths include:

  • Cook County: 1 male 50s, 3 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s

  • DuPage County: 1 female 80s

  • Jersey County: 1 female 90s

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

  • LaSalle County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 100+

  • Madison County: 1 female 80s

  • Massac County: 1 male 70s

  • Peoria County: 1 male 80s

  • Rock Island County: 1 male 40s

  • Saline County: 1 female 70s

  • Shelby County: 1 female 70s

  • Vermilion County: 1 male 80s

  • Williamson County: 1 female 90s

  • Winnebago County: 1 female 20s, 1 male 50s, 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s

As of Wednesday, 1,573 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Of those, 350 were in intensive care and 132 were on ventilators, according to the state health department.

Officials on Tuesday encouraged Illinoisans to wear masks and to wear them correctly to bring down the state's infection rate. New coronavirus mitigation efforts are now in effect in Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties. It joins Region 4, the St. Louis Metro East, which saw new restrictions last week and may be headed for more as soon as next week.

See how your region is doing here.

"The positivity rate in this region exceeds the positivity levels in California and North Carolina and is approaching the positivity levels in Georgia," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. "Both Region 4 and Region 7 are seeing positivity rates far above what we're seeing in the rest of Illinois."

All indoor dining service at bars and restaurants is suspended in Region 7 and new capacity limits have been imposed on other businesses as part of the new mitigation measures.

"Relative to other Midwestern states, Illinois currently has a lower positivity rate than most, but our numbers are now getting worse, not better. We must reverse this trend," the governor added.

Pritzker said it would be up to residents to determine where each region goes from here, forward or backward. "If you wear your mask and you keep six feet of distance when you're in public, there will be a lot fewer infections and a lot fewer restrictions," he said.

Even with new restrictions, Region 4 continues to see skyrocketing infection rates, public health officials said. The restrictions imposed on the Metro East were less strict that those now seen in Will and Kankakee counties in order to align with restrictions currently in place across the river in St. Louis, Missouri, but the governor said Tuesday that was probably a mistake.

"Should things continue in that direction in Region 4, these same new mitigations that have been imposed on Region 7 will also take effect in Region 4 starting on Sept. 2," the governor said. "My hope and that of IDPH is that imposing stronger mitigations now will result in faster public health progress that will allow us to reopen again sooner."

A stronger mask order will also be imposed statewide starting this week.

Beginning Wednesday, the governor said, all restaurant and bar patrons must wear masks — "yes, over their noses and their mouths" — when interacting with wait staff and other employees, including when placing orders, when food and beverages are brought to the table, and when picking up carryout orders.

"No matter if you're a resident of Joliet or of Kankakee or of East St. Louis or Quincy or Barrington or Chicago, we all want this pandemic to end and to get back to normal," the governor said. "If everyone would wear their masks in public and keep a reasonable distance from each other, we can reduce infections and deaths in a short period of time and keep them low until a vaccine is developed and widely available."

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state's top public health official, asked residents of Regions 4 and 7 to continue to take the virus very seriously and reiterated the governor's calls to wear masks.

"Stop wearing your face coverings incorrectly," she said. "You're literally contributing to infection transmission by doing so ... and potentially to an additional life that will be lost. To the people that say that face coverings don't work, you're simply wrong. It doesn't matter what video you saw on the internet or fake headline you read. Please know that face coverings do save lives, but they must be used in conjunction with social distancing and hand-washing."

The statewide positive-test rate is 4 percent, a decline of four-tenths of a percentage point from last week. In the past 24 hours, labs in Illinois have processed 50,362 coronavirus tests, for a total of more than 3.8 million since the pandemic began. According to Johns Hopkins University, a positivity rate of less than 5 percent is a good measure of whether enough tests are being conducted, and state officials have said a rate higher than 8 percent will trigger new restrictions in a given region.

The United States now has more than 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus infections, and at least 178,533 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Based on the latest predictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 187,000 to 205,000 Americans could be dead from the disease by Sept. 12.

Globally, more than 24 million people have been infected and 821,654 are known to have died.

Illinois Coronavirus Helpline:

Illinois officials say a state helpline has been set up to provide emotional support and quick answers to questions about the coronavirus pandemic. Illinoisans can test "TALK" to 55-2020 (or "HABLAR" for Spanish), and within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor. Residents can also text keywords such as "UNEMPLOYMENT," "FOOD" or "SHELTER," to the same number to receive additional information about those topics.

Here's what's happening with the coronavirus in Illinois:

New Mask Guidelines Issued For Illinois Bars, Restaurants

Face coverings must be worn during any interactions between patrons and staff under revised statewide regulation taking effect Wednesday.

New Restrictions For Will County: No More Indoor Dining, Drinking

The restrictions will go into effect for region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, on Wednesday.

Homer Glen Won't Enforce New Coronavirus Guidelines: Mayor

In a statement released Tuesday, Mayor Yukich said the new requirements "do not appear to be based on science and seem to be arbitrary."

Eatery 'Very Upset' With Pritzker's New Will Co. Regulations

The owner of Steve Buresh's Cheesecake Store & Sandwich Shop said he is using his "own retirement money into keeping this dream alive."

Al's Steakhouse Not Happy With Pritzker's New Restrictions

Al's Steakhouse owners question why big box retail and hardware stores avoid coronavirus restrictions when it comes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Golden Corral Won't Be Stopped By Pritzker This Time Around

After a three-month coronavirus shutdown, Golden Corral remodeled its dining room and reopened July 1. But it won't be shut down again.

8-Year-Old Boy's Severe Illness Linked To Coronavirus: Report

The Niles second-grader was hospitalized in intensive care with multisystem inflammatory syndrome for nearly two weeks, his mother says.

Cinemark Reopens Tinseltown USA Theater In North Aurora

Nearly 200 Cinemark theaters recently reopened throughout the country after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

D303 Schools Report Coronavirus Cases In First Days Of New Year

School officials in St. Charles did not say whether the positive tests were from students or district employees.

District 33C Staff Member Tests Positive, 1 Awaiting Results

The staff members and the several other employees who had close contact will be teaching remotely, according to Homer District 33C.

District 205 Sees Wave of Resignations

Faculty and staff announce departures days before start of school.

District 124 Teachers Test Positive For COVID-19: Union

Teachers union tells Evergreen Park Dist. 124 leadership and school board that current plans do not allow for safe reopening of schools.

First District 112 Staff Member Tests Positive For Coronavirus

A week before teachers return to North Shore School District 112 schools, a staffer with COVID-19 is in isolation, administrators said.

North Suburban Parents Demand In-Person Learning

A coalition is calling for the Deerfield District 109 Board of Education to take action at its Monday meeting.

Vote By Mail Poll: IL Voters Nervous Ballots Won't Be Received

Readers divided on voting by mail: nearly 6,000 readers took our survey and expressed anxiety about the option for the Nov. 3 election.

Coronavirus by the numbers:

Illinois:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases:225,627

  • Deaths: 7,954

  • People tested: 3,831,412

  • Recovered: Illinois does not provide exact numbers of recovered cases, but says the recovery rate is 95 percent.

Nationwide:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases: 5,807,480

  • Deaths: 179,235

  • People tested: 73,535,820

  • Recovered: 2,053,699

Global:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases: 24,000,302

  • Deaths: 821,654

  • People tested: No data available

  • Recovered: 15,629,291

Sources: Johns Hopkins University and IDPH

Tips from the CDC on dealing with coronavirus:

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally recommends taking these actions to prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

What to do if you're sick:

Call head if you're planning to visit your doctor:

  • If you have a medical appointment, call the health care provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the health care provider's office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Stay home unless you must see a doctor:

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.

  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home:

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

  • Limit contact with pets and animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just as you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

Avoid sharing personal household items:

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Masks:

  • CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

  • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

  • Face mask instructions — sew- and no-sew masks

To donate personal protective equipment (PPE), email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the state coronavirus hotline at 800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

This article originally appeared on the Across Illinois Patch