Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a dire warning on Thursday as the highest number of daily coronavirus cases in the state were recorded since the start of the pandemic.
According to Pritzker, the state is seeing a new high in cases with 6,363 reported Thursday as well as a new seven-day average high of 5,043 new cases per day.
“The two highest seven-day average number of cases we reached in one day in the spring was 2,565 in early May. That came down to about 590 in mid-June,” Pritzker said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. “Today, we are at a new high, a seven-day average of 5,043 new cases per day – closing in on twice what we saw in May.”
The new substantial rise in cases across the state are higher than daily totals reported during the coronavirus peak earlier this year and are up more than 150% since the beginning of October alone, according to the governor.
“Statewide, we have a real problem on our hands, and people’s lives hang in the balance,” Pritzker said.
Illinois averages 73,000 tests a day, the highest number of testing in the Midwest, but Pritzker explained the numbers behind why the increase in testing is not the reason for the surge in cases.
“Even as our testing has grown, between late June and late July, our case positivity stayed steady between 2.5 and 3%, from late July to a few weeks ago, it stayed more or less below 4.5%,” Pritzker explained. “Today it’s up to 6.9% and our current test positivity average, which we use for mitigation decisions, is 8.2%.”
The growth rates we’re seeing in positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths are telling us we are again experiencing a meaningful and sustained increase in transmission of the virus.”
The average number of hospitalizations have also gone up across the state, increasing by 73% since the beginning of October alone, according to Pritzker.
“We came into this month with an average of 1,570 patients in the hospital fighting COVID-19; today, hardly four weeks later, that average is up to 2,700 and growing,” Pritzker said.
The number of residents that require admittance into the Intensive Care Unit is also up from an Oct. 1 average of 360 statewide to 580 current ICU patients, a 61% increase.
The statewide number of deaths due to COVID-19 has also increased over the last four weeks from an average of 23 lives lost per day in early October to the present average of 41, an 82% increase.
Thursday's metrics were announced as several counties - making up eight of the state's 11 healthcare regions- are set for enhanced mitigations, many of which took effect this week or will begin this weekend across the Chicago area.
Those mitigations include the shutdown of indoor dining and bar service as well as the limiting of group sizes to 25 people, among other changes.
“Well-meaning and reasonable people can have fair disagreements about how and where to draw lines and connect dots,” Pritzker said. “But when every single metric in every single corner of the state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe.”