Illinois surpasses testing goal, unveiling daily high of new COVID-19 cases

State reports 2,724 new cases, 108 additional deaths

Gov. JB Pritzker announces that the state for the first time surpassed its daily coronavirus testing goal of 10,000 in the previous 24 hours during a news conference Friday in Chicago. With more than 16,000 tests in the past day, there were 2,724 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day count thus far.   (Credit: blueroomstream.c

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker said Friday that laboratories in Illinois completed more than 16,000 COVID-19 tests over the previous 24 hours, far surpassing its goal of 10,000 tests per day.

“Surpassing 10,000 tests is a very important milestone, not only because it allows us to isolate more of those who are COVID-positive so that they don’t spread the infection, but also because it moves us in the direction of expanding our surveillance for outbreaks,” Pritzker said during his daily briefing in Chicago. “More testing means we can potentially lower the infection rate.”

The highest number of tests performed over a day also produced a new daily high number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, at 2,724. But Pritzker said about only 17 percent of those tests came back positive, compared to the cumulative rate since the pandemic began of about 21 percent.

He said it was too early to say whether the lower rate of positive results was the result of decreasing infection rates or the fact that the state has expanded the criteria for allowing people to be tested.

Friday’s report brings the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began to 39,658.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, also said 108 people had died of the disease over the previous 24 hours, bringing that total to 1,795.

As of Friday, she said, 4,828 people were being hospitalized for the disease, and of those about 25 percent, or 1,225 people, were in intensive care beds, and 58 percent of the ICU patients, or 709 individuals, were on ventilators.

Pritzker said the state was able to achieve the new high number of tests by circumventing conventional supply chains, setting up alternative testing sites, including 112 public sites throughout the state that operate free of charge.