Illinois health officials on Thursday reported 2,166 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, along with 25 additional deaths.
Thursday's metrics bring the state’s total number of coronavirus cases to 295,440 cases and the total number of fatalities to 8,696.
Health officials reported higher testing numbers again on Thursday, with 65,615 specimens processed by labs throughout the state. In all, 5,690,437 tests have been performed in the state since the pandemic began, officials said.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate returned to 3.5% on Thursday, down one-tenth of a percentage point from where it was the previous day.
As of midnight, 1,635 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Illinois, with 359 patients in intensive care unit beds. A total of 149 patients were on ventilators in the state, officials said.
The latest metrics were reported just days after officials announced enhanced coronavirus mitigation rules would be put into place in Region 1 beginning on Saturday.
According to a Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, the new mitigation rules will be put into place after the region, located in northwest Illinois, saw its seven-day rolling positivity rate exceed 8% for more than three consecutive days.
Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.
“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity rate – jumping more than two percentage points in two weeks even as the majority of Illinois continues to see downward trends – demands increased efforts to stop the spread in our northwestern counties,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Region 1 has also reported some increased hospital admission for illnesses directly related to COVID-19, as well as illnesses that could potentially be linked to the virus.
As part of the new enhanced mitigation strategies, indoor service at bars and restaurants must be suspended on Saturday. All outside bar service can continue, but service will be required to close at 11 p.m. Reservations will be required for parties looking to visit bars and restaurants.
Social events will also be limited to 25 or fewer guests, or 25% of overall room capacity. Party buses are also banned under provisions of the rules.
In order to move back to Phase 4 restrictions, the region will be required to average a positivity rate of 6.5% or less for three straight days.
Also on Thursday, Chicago eased some of its coronavirus restrictions, allowing indoor bar service again and raising capacity limits on businesses, including restaurants, among other major changes.