6,363 new COVID-19 cases: State record again, and now an average of 5,000+ new cases a day
Illinois hit a single-day record of 6,363 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and is averaging more than 5,000 new cases a day this week.
Just two weeks ago, the state was averaging fewer than 3,000 new cases a day for the week.
Only Texas is averaging more new cases a day than Illinois, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"When every single metric in every single corner of our state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe," Pritzker said during Thursday's media briefing. "Statewide, we have a real problem on our hands and people's lives hang in the balance."
Fifty-six more people have died from the disease, health officials said Thursday. Of those, 26 were from Chicago and the suburban counties.
Yet another of the state's 11 health regions will go under virus-related mitigation restrictions, the governor announced Thursday. Region 3, which contains Springfield, will have those restrictions imposed Sunday.
Lake and McHenry counties on Saturday are set to join the rest of the suburbs and Chicago in facing the same restrictions, which include a temporary ban on indoor dining, limits in public gatherings of 25 people or 25% of capacity, and other measures.
In all, eight regions of the state will be under tightened restrictions by Sunday.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials Thursday announced the state also recorded its second highest number of test results in a single day with 83,056, which means 7.7% of those tests resulted in a new infection.
While testing is up, new cases of the disease are outpacing the growth of test results, Pritzker said.
"The growth rates that we're seeing in positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths are telling us that we are again experiencing a meaningful and sustained increase in transmission of this virus," he said.
Since the outbreak began, 395,458 Illinoisans have been infected with the virus. The state's death toll is 9,675.
Hospitals statewide reporting 3,030 COVID-19 patients being treated by the end of Wednesday, 169 more than were hospitalized the day before and the largest single-day spike in COVID-19 patients since May 11. Of those hospitalized, 643 were in intensive care. A month ago, the state's hospitals reported just 378 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds.
Meanwhile, the state's infection rate inched up again and is now at 6.9%, based on a seven-day average.
Dr. Emily Landon, head of the University of Chicago's infectious disease prevention and control program, joined Pritzker at Thursday's briefing to try to dispel rumors surrounding COVID-19 guidelines and research.
"I'm really worried about the misinformation and fatigue slipping into and covering up our best intentions," she said. "First of all, inconsistent recommendations are not evidence of a conspiracy, nor are inconsistent data. They're evidence of a changing knowledge in epidemiology. Science is learning. We change our guidance because we learn something new. Changing advice should make you feel good that we're making progress."
Landon touted studies that show how effective wearing masks can be at not only stopping the spread of the virus but also potentially limiting the effect of the virus on someone who gets infected.
"There's growing evidence that if you catch COVID while wearing a mask, you may not get as sick," she said.
Additionally, the head of IDPH, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, urged Illinois residents to get flu shots.
"We're starting to get reports of people in hospitals with both flu and COVID-19," she said. "We don't want to battle this twin-demic."