Illinois health officials report 1,645 new COVID-19 cases, 16 coronavirus-related deaths

Coronavirus

CHICAGO (WGN) — State health officials reported 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed in Illinois over the past day Wednesday.

The statewide positivity rate from August 5-11 remains at 4.1 percent, where it has been since Sunday, and near where it has been since late July. Officials said over 42,000 tests were conducted over the past 24 hours as well, which is near the current 7-day average as testing continues to expand in Illinois.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday is slightly below the current 7-day average of about 1,730, which has been climbing since late June. Of confirmed cases, health officials estimate 95 percent have recovered.

One positive sign is none of the regions established in the “Restore Illinois” plan are above the state’s warning levels of days with an increase in positivity rate or COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the most recent data.

The positivity rates in the downstate Southern region and the Metro East region outside St. Louis remain near the 8 percent “failsafe” level, with rates of 7.3 percent and 7.5 percent respectively as of Sunday.

Hospital capacities and COVID-19 hospitalizations also remain within state limits in all regions of Illinois and statewide. As of Tuesday night, 1,525 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 357 in intensive care and 129 on ventilators.

Governor JB Pritzker’s rule requiring businesses and schools to enforce the state’s mask mandate or face fines and other penalties went into effect Tuesday after it was approved by a legislative oversight committee.

Penalties start with a written warning, and if they don’t comply, businesses can be ordered to remove customers from their property and fined up to $2,500.

Nationally, President Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. reached a $1.525 billion deal with Moderna Inc. to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved. Clinical trials are currently underway to test whether it’s safe and effective.

Though it’s still possible lawmakers could cut a deal and distribute a second round of stimulus checks before the end of this month, a second $1,200 direct payment from the government will most likely have to wait until September.

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