Illinois reported more than 1,700 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the highest daily total the state has reported so far this month.
With 1,772 new cases in the last 24 hours, the state's total number of cases since the pandemic began rose to 176,896, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. An 18 additional deaths also lift the total number of fatalities to 7,478.
"We're at a danger point, everybody," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said earlier Thursday morning while speaking in Peoria County, which reached "warning level" for coronavirus last week. "Pay attention. Now is the time to wear your mask properly."
Pritzker was expected to speak again Thursday afternoon from another warning county. (Watch live in the player above)
Officials reported more than 41,000 new coronavirus test specimens turned into state labs over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to more than 2.6 million during the ongoing pandemic. That marks a jump of nearly 10,000 tests from one day earlier.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate stayed flat at 3.8% after rising from the 3.6% reported Sunday.
As of Wednesday evening, 1,452 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois, health officials said. Of those, 353 were in intensive care units and 149 were on ventilators.
Pritzker on Wednesday warned a downstate region once again that it was particularly close to seeing added restrictions.
That region is Region 4, the Metro East region downstate that includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties and borders St. Louis, Missouri.
"Last week, I mentioned that while we were seeing a concerning rolling 7-day average positivity rate of 7.1% in the Metro East, the rest of our 11 regions all fell below 5%," Pritzker said, referring to his coronavirus briefing the previous Wednesday.
"As of Tuesday’s data update, the Metro East was hitting a 7.8% rate, and with the Metro East included, we now have six regions with a positivity rate above 5%," he continued.
Pritzker also announced Wednesday a change in guidance for Illinois sports, forcing season changes at several schools.