For the second day in a row, Illinois set a record for daily new coronavirus cases, topping 4,000 again as the state reported its highest single-day testing total since the pandemic began.
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 4,554 new coronavirus cases, a record high one-day total, as well as 38 additional deaths.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said the new cases bring the statewide totals to 336,174 cases and 9,165 deaths since the pandemic began.
A total of 87,759 tests were performed in the previous 24 hours, officials said, marking another record, barring totals reported on Sept. 4 when officials processed a backlog of tests due to a data processing delay.
State health officials on Thursday began including both molecular and antigen tests in its number of statewide tests performed. IDPH said that antigen tests previously comprised less than 1% of tests performed and were not included before due to a "limited number of antigen tests and limited information about antigen test accuracy."
But Illinois health officials said Thursday that antigen tests were becoming more readily available, and would therefore be included in the daily counts.
The record high number of cases can't be entirely attributed to the large amount of tests conducted, however, because although a high number of tests were reported, the 7-day rolling statewide positivity rate also jumped from 4.9% to 5.1% on Friday, continuing a gradual rise and crossing 5% for the first time in several weeks.
As of Thursday night, 2,016 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 410 patients were in the ICU and 151 patients were on ventilators.
The latest figures came just after Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Illinois was heading in a "concerning direction" as all of the state's 11 health care regions have seen an increase in testing positivity rates.
"Unfortunately, all 11 regions have seen an increase in positivity compared to where we were at last week’s update. Statewide, our positivity rate has grown by more than one full percentage point in the last week alone. And in most regions, COVID-like hospital admissions have increased in the same time period," he said during a news conference Wednesday.
"To date, Illinois has had relative success in keeping this virus at bay, and we’re still doing better than many of our neighbors, but we can’t let up – and these numbers are indicating a concerning direction," he continued.