The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,630 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 42 additional deaths Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average of Illinois’ positivity rate increased slightly to 3.5%. The state received the results of 58,820 COVID-19 tests in the 24 hours leading up to Wednesday afternoon.
Illinois now has seen 307,641 total cases of the virus and 8,878 people have died. The state has conducted a total of 6,033,289 tests since the start of the pandemic.
As of late Tuesday, Illinois had 1,679 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of those, 372 were in intensive care units, and 165 were on ventilators.
In a virtual COVID-19 update given Wednesday afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker said the encouraging trends seen in positivity rates across the state have slowed over the last week and, in some regions, have even gone backwards.
Last week, the governor said the majority of the state’s health regions were reporting decreasing positivity rates with the exception of Region 1 (reporting 8.6% as of Wednesday), which is currently adhering to “tier one” of the IDPH resurgence mitigations.
Region 1, or the North Region, includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.
Metro East Region 4, which surrounds St. Louis in the southwestern part of the state, has also been under additional resurgence mitigations from the IDPH since late August and reported a peak positivity rate of over 10%.
On Wednesday, Pritzker said that many regions are now stagnating in their progress and that Regions 5 (Southern Illinois) and 9 (Lake and McHenry Counties) have reported increasing positivity rates.
Region 4, however, is reporting a decreasing positivity rate with an average rate of 6.3% as of Wednesday morning, meaning the region could be on its way to returning to normal Phase 4 restrictions “as soon as Friday,” he said.
Pritzker also gave an overview of the options available to voters to cast their ballot safely this election season including early voting, vote-by-mail and voting in-person on Election Day.
With the vote-by-mail expansion bill signed into law by Pritzker on June 16, every registered voter was sent a mail-in ballot application for those who might feel safer voting that way, Pritzker said.
Mail-in ballots can be mailed, dropped off at local post offices or slipped in secure ballot drop boxes, he said. Voters can get a list of ballot drop box locations by contacting their county clerk’s office or by visiting their county clerk’s website.
Illinois residents can also participate in early voting, which began on Sept. 24, or can choose to vote on Election Day, which is Nov. 3 and has been declared a national holiday, Pritzker said.
Pritzker urged voters to wear a mask and keep their distance if voting in person and encouraged younger residents to work as election judges at their local polling places to replace retirees who have had to step down from serving out of concern for their health.
IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike addressed potential concerns surrounding the manipulation of COVID-19 data and said the agency is committed to presenting data in the most transparent way possible while still guaranteeing the privacy of infected individuals.
“Our one and only goal is to collect the data, make the most informed decisions to protect the health and wellness of the people of Illinois,” Ezike said.
Newly reported deaths include:
• Bureau County: 1 female 40s
• Champaign County: 1 female 80s
• Christian County: 1 female 70s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s
• Clinton County: 1 female 80s
• Coles County: 1 female 80s
• Cook County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 males 90s
• DuPage County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
• Franklin County: 1 male 90s
• Kane County: 1 female 70s
• Kankakee County: 1 male 70s
• Madison County: 1 female 90s
• Marion County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
• Perry County: 1 female 60s
• Randolph County: 1 male 70s
• Rock Island County: 1 male 70s
• Saline County: 1 female 80s
• Sangamon County: 1 male 90s
• Shelby County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
• St. Clair County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
• Tazewell County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
• Wabash County: 1 male 70s
• Will County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 2 females 90s
• Williamson County: 1 female 90s
Source: The Daily Chronicle