Illinois sees increase of over 1,100 new coronavirus cases

By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

Editor’s Note: In an effort to keep the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have removed the paywall from this article. All listed data is pulled directly from IDPH and St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. There may be discrepancies between the reported statistics. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,105 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 18 additional deaths. 

One of the additional deaths is a woman in her 70s from St. Clair County that passed away on Friday. St. Clair County Health Department has announced a second death as of Sunday, March 29. While IDPH is reporting 31 positive cases and one death in St. Clair County, the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency is reporting 29 confirmed cases and two deaths. We are unsure of why there is a discrepancy, though there are testing and reporting delays, and as SCCEMA stated in their daily conference, the data is constantly evolving. 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 4,596 cases, including 65 deaths, in 47 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. 

In his daily update, Governor JB Pritzker said the testing standard is somewhere around 10,000 tests performed per day, and Illinois is conducting over 4,000 tests per day currently. As testing supplies and capabilities expand, the limit will increase. Pritzker is hoping increased testing will improve modeling data. 

A University of Washington study is predicting the peak of the virus to hit Illinois on April 18, and is predicting over 2,000 deaths in Illinois by August. Pritzker said he’s using his own statisticians but they did compare their model to the study, and he said some of the data is similar. 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said “There are many who are ill with only mild, minimal symptoms who still may be unknowingly transmitting this virus to some of our most vulnerable populations and introducing it to vulnerable congregate settings.” 

IDPH is continuing to work with congregate settings like nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and correctional facilities to attempt to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Pritzker said he hopes to return to Southern Illinois to speak specifically to those Illinoisans, but said he is “reticent to travel,” and that he needs to be on hand to make decisions as cases in Northern Illinois skyrocket. He said he’s keeping a close eye on southern counties like Madison and St. Clair as their cases  increase. 

In the SCCEMA daily update, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern asked again that people stay home unless otherwise necessary, and then maintain social distancing and hygiene guidelines to slow the community spread of the virus. 

Susan Sarfaty, the Regional Superintendent of Schoolsreiterated that as of now, all Illinois schools are closed through April 7, and said that there would be announcements this week regarding the extension of school closures.

Pritzker also alluded to announcements in the coming days, as the current stay at home order also ends on April 7. President Donald Trump said the new federal guidelines would be through April 30, and the President was hopeful the country would be on the way to recovery by June 1.

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