Illinois' daily coronavirus testing reached an important milestone Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.
The state finally surpassed its goal of 10,000 daily tests, exceeding that number by a large margin with 16,124 tests reported.
"Surpassing 10,000 tests is an important milestone, not only because it allows us to isolate more of those who are COVID-positive so they don’t spread the infection, but also because it moves us in the direction of expanding our surveillance for outbreaks," Pritzker said. "More testing means we can potentially lower the infection rate, so we’re going to continue to work to push that number up. Our ability to test and get results quickly is key to our ability to map the presence of this virus and to gradually reduce our mitigation measures and get more people back to work. In the face of this virus, testing is really key to everything else we need to do to get Illinois moving again. There’s still more work to do to maintain and build on this progress, but reaching and surpassing the 10,000 mark is a great first step."
The increase in testing also brought an increase in cases across the state.
The state reported 2,724 new cases since Thursday, lifting the statewide total to near 40,000.
"This is the largest 24-hour increase to date," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, adding, however that the increase comes amid a significant rise in testing.
There were also 108 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities associated with the virus in the state to 1,795.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted that the state finally topped the 10,000 test milestone he had been aiming for with 16,124 tests conducted since Thursday.
The state most recently opened drive-thru testing sites for anyone experiencing symptoms at two new locations in the state.
Pritzker and Illinois health officials have noted that with increased testing comes higher case counts.
Meanwhile, Pritzker said he plans to extend the state's stay-at-home order through much of May.
The new stay-at-home order now mandates face coverings for all Illinois residents who must go to public spaces like grocery stores, beginning May 1. It also allows for the reopening of several businesses across the state, as well as golf courses and state parks.
Major Chicago festivals set for May and June have been postponed or canceled, including the Chicago Pride Parade and the city's gospel and blues music festivals. Some locations in the city and its suburbs have started postponing deadlines and even canceling summer camp programs and others canceled both Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations.