As Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot indicate that new coronavirus restrictions could be implemented in their respective jurisdictions amid a surge in cases, new numbers show just how widespread new cases of the virus are becoming in the state.
According to data compiled by NBC 5 Investigates, Illinois has reported more new coronavirus cases in the last seven days than 48 other states, with only Texas reporting more new cases in the last week than the Land of Lincoln.
Illinois has reported 25,269 new cases of the virus over the last seven days, setting a new statewide record for cases over a seven-day span. In fact, the state has broken that record each of the last 16 days, according to data compiled from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
California, which has more than three times the population of Illinois, ranked third in new cases this week, with Florida and Wisconsin rounding out the top five.
While the state is testing residents at record rates, with nearly 900,000 new tests in the last 14 days alone, that doesn’t account for the recent surge in cases. On Oct. 3, the statewide seven-day positivity rate on tests in the state was at 3.3%, its lowest level since late July. Just 16 days later, the positivity rate has increased by a staggering 61%, now standing at 5.4% as of Oct. 19.
The state has reported more than 2,000 new cases each of the last 13 days, a streak that had not been reached at any point during the pandemic up to this point.
While other surges in cases have tended to be focused in one or two primarily impacted areas, this increase in cases seems to be widespread throughout the state. In fact, all 11 healthcare regions in the state have seen increases in positivity rates, with Regions 1 and 5 implementing additional mitigation strategies and Regions 7 and 8 likely heading for a similar fate later this week.
The news of the new numbers have led many officials, including Pritzker and Lightfoot, to emphasize the importance of wearing masks and washing hands during the pandemic. Lightfoot has said that Chicago could be headed for additional restrictions if coronavirus numbers don’t turn around soon, and Pritzker’s administration has already implemented additional restrictions in multiple regions to try to stem the flow of new cases.
Illinois’ hospitalization numbers are also on the rise, with nearly 2,100 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus. That is the highest number the state has reported since mid-June. Nearly 500 of those patients are in intensive care units, also a high watermark over the last four months.