Illinois reports more than 2,000 additional cases, 74 deaths on Saturday

More than 2,000 additional cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Illinois and 74 more people have died, health officials said Saturday.

Statewide, 92,457 people have tested positive for the virus, including the 2,008 new cases reported Saturday. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 4,129 people have died.

A third resident of the Illinois Manteno Veterans' Home is among those to die and 63 people have tested positive for the virus at the facility.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that the state was again expanding its criteria of who can get tested. People with symptoms or working an essential job under the statewide stay-at-home order are now eligible. Anyone exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient also can get tested.

According to health department data, all regions of the state remained on track Saturday to loosen restrictions on May 29, including Chicago and surrounding counties. The state has been under a stay-at-home order since late March, with exceptions for outdoor exercise and essential errands or work.

Pritzker's five-phase reopening plan split the state into four regions that can advance - or be forced to pull back - independently of the others based on several factors, including hospitalization rates and the rate of positive tests out of all those performed.

Protesters who want Illinois to move faster gathered Saturday for rallies featuring Republican politicians or candidates and small business owners. A few hundred people clustered on downtown Chicago streets outside the Thompson Center; protesters also gathered in Springfield outside the state Capitol.

After similar events earlier this month, Pritzker said he's following the guidance of public health experts and moving cautiously to prevent another spike in coronavirus cases and deaths.

A poll conducted early this month by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 55% of Americans said they disapprove of such protests and 31% approve. The poll also found that 71% of Americans favor requiring people to stay in their homes except for essential errands, down slightly from 80% two weeks earlier.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older people and the infirm, it can cause severe symptoms and lead to death.

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