It was another day of increased testing and higher coronavirus case totals in Illinois Sunday, as more than 2,000 people were diagnosed with the virus and more than 13,000 tests were performed within a 24-hour period.
Even though more people are being diagnosed with the disease, Illinois is beginning to scale back its operations at the alternate care facility at McCormick Place, saying hospitals are likely able to cope with the current number of cases requiring hospitalization.
Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around the state for today (April 26):
Illinois Announces 2,126 New Coronavirus Cases
Illinois officials reported 2,126 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 43,903 since the pandemic began.
State officials also reported a third consecutive day of increased testing numbers, as more than 13,000 tests were conducted over the last 24 hours. That marks another day exceeding the 10,000-tests-per—day goal that Governor J.B. Pritzker set earlier this month.
In all, nearly 215,000 people have been tested for the virus statewide.
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Alternate Care Facility at McCormick Place to Scale Down as Curve Flattens
A proposed 3,000 bed facility at McCormick Place will be scaled down, as “stay-at-home” orders and social distancing have contributed to a flattening of the curve in coronavirus cases in the state, officials said Sunday.
Instead, the McCormick Place facility will scale down to approximately 1,000 beds, and a proposed wing for extremely sick patients will be put on hold.
Resources designated for McCormick Place, including nurses and doctors, will be allocated to other hospitals.
The proposed facility at McCormick Place aimed to alleviate overcrowding at hospitals due to COVID-19 patients, but state officials say that the curve flattening has allowed them to put those plans back on hold. Officials say that the facilities could still be opened in the future if the peak in cases ends up being worse than anticipated.
Company to Open Site to Clean N95 Masks
A Columbus-based company began operations to sterilize used N95 masks to help protect supplies of the critical PPE for first responders in Illinois.
The process is being done at a Waukegan sterilization facility, and company officials say the site can clean up to 80,000 masks daily.
Healthcare workers use the N95 masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but supplies have plummeted amid the pandemic.