Illinois reports more than 51K new coronavirus tests, sets single-day record for second day in a row


CHICAGO (WGN) — Illinois health officials said laboratories reported more than 51,000 new COVID-19 tests performed over the past 24 hours Thursday, setting a single-day record for the second day in a row as officials ramp up testing across the state.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 51,612 new COVID-19 tests were reported over the past 24 hours, surpassing the record of 50,2999 tests set just a day earlier.

Unlike Wednesday, when officials also reported the newest COVID-19 cases since late May, on Thursday the IDPH confirmed 1,832 new coronavirus cases and 27 related deaths. This is closer to the current 14-day case average of about 1,800, although that average has been rising since late June. The 14-day average of deaths has been steady at about 17 since late July.

The statewide positivity rate from August 13-19 remains steady at 4.4 percent, according to the IDPH. While the 7-day positivity rate in the U.S. as a whole has declined for four weeks in a row, it has increased in Illinois over that same period, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Wednesday.

State-imposed mitigation measures also remain in effect in the Metro East region outside St. Louis, as the region’s positivity rate of 9.4 percent as of August 17 exceeds the 8 percent limit established in the “Restore Illinois” plan.

The other positivity rates closest to the state limit as of Monday are 7.5 percent in Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, and 7.4 percent in Region 5, which is in the southern tip of the state.

On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the positivity rates in those regions “troubling,” and said new restrictions including limits on bar and restaurant access, and shrinking the number of people allowed at gatherings are all on the table.

Pritzker also announced a saliva-based coronavirus test developed at the University of Illinois received approval from the Food and Drug Administration and will soon be more widely available Wednesday, calling the rapid test a potentially “game-changing” development.

Hospital resources and coronavirus hospitalizations remain within state guidelines as well, with 1,519 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday night, including 357 in intensive care and 124 on ventilators.

Indiana health officials reported 955 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 coroanvirus-related deaths Thursday, while the statewide positivity rate from August 7-13 remains relatively steady at 7.6 percent.

Chicago and Illinois more generally continue to see the biggest increase in cases of COVID-19 among young people.

The city’s 7-day positivity rate is 5.1 percent as of August 16, state figures show, near where it has been since late July. To date, officials confirmed 67,076 COVID-19 cases and 2,836 related deaths in Chicago, and 50,902 cases and 2,148 deaths in suburban Cook County.

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