State health officials report 125 new COVID-19 related deaths, highest death toll to date

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CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an additional 125 people died from COVID-19.

As of Saturday, the state has seen 1,259 deaths and 1,585 new COVID-19 cases. The total number of cases state-wide is 29,160.

Despite the increase in deaths, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said the state is seeing a slight bend in the curve.

“Although our numbers continue to climb, it is, with some guarded optimism that we say that the growth is slowing. That is definitely a good thing but we must continue to be strong and hold the line.”

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike

As of right now, Pritzker said he is unsure if large gatherings will be allowed during the summer months, even if he decides to reopen the state on April 30. He said the state will need to go more than 14 consecutive days of diminished hospitalizations and cases.

“We don’t even know when the peak will be. We won’t know until we pass the peak that we hit the peak. As you’ve seen from various plans that have been put out, none of them really contemplate large gatherings until much after [14 days],” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said he doesn’t know if he will extend his Stay at Home order.

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