Illinois reports most new coronavirus deaths in 4 months as statewide resurgence continues

Coronavirus Watch

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials reported 69 additional coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday, the biggest increase since mid-June, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases continues across the state and the country.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 69 deaths reported Wednesday occurred across the state and were mostly among individuals who were 70 years of age and older.

The daily death toll related to the virus has not passed 60 in Illinois since late June, and Wednesday’s total is the highest since 87 deaths were reported on June 17.

When measured over a period of seven days, the daily average of deaths has climbed since early October to about 39 as of Wednesday, also near levels last reported in late June.

Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Illinois as fourth in the country with 265 deaths over the past seven days and 13th in the country when population is taken into account, behind neighboring Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.

The IDPH also reported 4,342 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, while the test positivity rate from October 14-20 rose to 5.7%, also near levels last seen in early June.

State health officials have been sounding the alarm over an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, as every region established in the Restore Illinois plan continues to see rising test positivity rates.

Restrictions including a ban on indoor dining at bars and restaurants and limits on gatherings to 25 people will be put in place in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties starting Friday, as well as in southern Illinois starting Thursday.

The state imposed the restrictions after those regions passed the “failsafe” level of a 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate of more than 8% for three consecutive days.

Data reported Wednesday shows the North Suburban region including Lake and McHenry counties is nearing the limit with a rate of 7.7% as of October 18. Rates in the West Suburban, South Suburban and Southern regions all remain above 8%.

With more than 66,000 new tests reported Wednesday, the state’s weekly testing average is now around 69,000, more than triple the number reported when the state reported a similar positivity rate in early June.

While hospital resources and COVID-19 hospitalizations remain within official guidelines across the state, the South Suburban region is nearing the state’s warning levels, with 25% of intensive care beds available.

The IDPH reports 2,338 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night, including 502 in intensive care and 194 on ventilators. Health officials estimate 97% of confirmed cases have recovered to date.

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