73 more dead, 1,287 more infected with COVID-19 in Illinois

  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced 73 more deaths in Illinois from COVID-19 Tuesday at a news conference in Chicago.

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced 73 more deaths in Illinois from COVID-19 Tuesday at a news conference in Chicago. BlueroomStream

 
 
Updated 4/7/2020 7:48 PM

Illinois experienced its largest single-day spike of COVID-19 fatalities Tuesday as the number of infected patients needing intensive care treatment and ventilators is also climbing quickly across the state.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said 73 more people had succumbed to coronavirus, bringing the total number killed in Illinois in the outbreak to 380 so far. He walked to the podium at his daily media briefing wearing a medical mask.

 

Another 1,287 people tested positive for the virus, putting the statewide infection count at 13,549 patients.

There are nearly 3,700 people hospitalized with the disease, he said.

Pritzker said 43% of the state's intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, up from 35% just a week ago. Among those being treated in hospitals, 29% of the coronavirus patients are using ventilators, up from 25% last week at this time.

Pritzker thanked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who loaned Illinois 100 ventilators Monday to deal with an expected surge in cases during the next few weeks. Pritzker said he hopes the state is "overprepared" after the purchase of a reported 12,000 body bags.

"Ventilators are critical tools in this fight and they can save lives, but they are not a cure," he said. "No number of ventilators will make up for a person ignoring our stay-at-home order, or not doing their due diligence and washing their hands."

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He also noted some hospitals are in worse shape than others because Chicago and the suburbs have a higher concentration of cases than other parts of the state. Pritzker said some hospitals in the area have less than 25% of their ICU beds available today.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said 68% of the infected are younger than 50, while 80% of those who have died are over 60.

"But we have seen deaths in all ages," she said. "We are reaffirming that our older population is at highest risk, but as all people can be infected, that means that all people are at risk for the most severe complications, including death."

Pritzker said the state has released 60 juvenile offenders from detention facilities across the state and roughly 1,100 "nonviolent offenders" from state prisons in an attempt to reduce the risk of a mass outbreak in correctional facilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Everybody released has a medical review," Pritzker said. "This is not open to anybody and everybody. We have reviewed files of those who are nonviolent offenders and those who pose the least risk to the community."

The governor also announced that a staff member in his office has tested positive after reportedly becoming ill in late March. After the positive diagnosis, the governor's offices were professionally cleaned, he said. He had limited contact with the staff member and said he hasn't been tested since he's not symptomatic.

Ezike noted health officials have also been in contact with those who tested positive for the disease and reported that 40% had responded to an online survey. Of those surveyed, 43% said they had "recovered" within seven days of the test.

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