coronavirus illinois

Pritzker Expresses Guarded Optimism as State Continues Ramping Up COVID-19 Testing

The nearly 8,000 tests returned over the last 24 hours is a new high for the state, but the percentage of positive tests remains similar to where it has been

Although Illinois now has had more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus during the pandemic, there are still reasons for cautious optimism, according to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

On Sunday, Illinois reported 1,672 new cases of the virus, a new single-day high in cases. Despite that, there is still evidence that the state is continuing to “flatten the curve” in regards to new cases.

“I’ve spoken before about a stabilizing or a bending of the curve, and today is one more day of evidence that it may be happening,” Pritzker said during a Sunday press conference. “The percent of those tested that came up positive is almost exactly the same as it has been for the last two weeks, and the death toll is lower than it has been in six days.”

The state is also testing more people than it has at any point during the pandemic. While officials had originally wanted to be testing up to 10,000 people per day by April 10, Illinois had fallen well short of that number by Friday. On Sunday however testing numbers jumped up, as 7,956 people have now been tested for the virus.

With the higher testing numbers, an increase in positive cases was seen as mathematically inevitable, but Pritzker emphasized that the improving percentage of positive results among those tests is another indicator that social distancing and “stay-at-home” orders are working to help combat the spread of the virus.  

According to Pritzker, doctors and scientists are crediting the slowdown in the percentage of new cases on the state’s decision to implement a “stay-at-home” order in March, but cautioned that the state must “stay the course” or risk undoing the progress that has been made.

“We must stay the course in order to continue our progress,” Pritzker said.

On Saturday, Pritzker said that the numbers the state is receiving are indicating that the curve of new cases is beginning to flatten.

“It means a lower rise in hospitalizations than was originally anticipated. That’s a really good sign,” he said. “Hospitalizations, ICU beds, and ventilator use are the most real way you can track how the virus is moving and whether it’s expanding exponentially, and what we’re seeing is a flattening of the curve.”

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