Coronavirus cases in Illinois have been trending downward in recent weeks, but the state recorded a large jump in positive tests Wednesday, recording the single-highest increase in cases in more than a month.
According to data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, state labs reported 980 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the largest single-day increase since 1,156 new cases of the virus were confirmed on June 5.
The positive tests also pushed Illinois perilously close to breaking a long-running streak of maintaining a daily positivity rate (defined as the percentage of test results that come back positive in a given day) of under three percent. That streak dates back to June 16, and Illinois nearly ended that run on Wednesday but came up just short at 2.99 percent.
That daily positivity rate is worth keeping an eye on, as Illinois has jumped above 2.9 percent positivity on two of the last three days. The rate has been fluctuating considerably as of late, dropping to just 2.17 percent on Tuesday, but with higher test numbers continuing to roll in and with the Phase Four easing of restrictions now almost two weeks old, some increase in cases or positivity rates could be forthcoming.
Even with those numbers, there are still some reasons for optimism in the state. The state’s overall positivity rate has continued its decline, dropping to 8.11 percent on Wednesday. That number has been on the decline ever since April 22 and could potentially drop below eight percent in the coming days.
If it does, that would be the first time since March 12, just the third day that Illinois has data for, that the number has been that low.
The positivity rate peaked on April 22 at 21.36 percent, and has declined every day since then.
The seven-day positivity rate has told a similar story in recent weeks, remaining fairly steady throughout the months of June and July. The rate hasn’t been above three percent since June 16, falling as low as 2.44 percent. Even after Wednesday’s jump in cases, the seven-day rate is still at 2.62 percent.
Finally, testing availability remains high, with Illinois moving back above the 30,000 test-per-day threshold on Wednesday. In fact, Illinois has conducted more than 410,000 tests in the last two weeks, the best two-week performance on record.
Of those tests, just 2.64 percent have come back positive.
The state is continuing to add testing capabilities, including the deployment of 12 mobile testing teams to travel to hard-hit areas in the state, meaning that residents will still be able to get tested for free in those areas.