105 more dead from COVID-19, another 2,450 infected; Illinois leaders say be careful outside
As warmer weather tempted Illinois residents outside Saturday, state health officials urged everyone to maintain social distancing protocols to help continue fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
Illinois Department of Public Health officials announced 105 additional coronavirus deaths Saturday as well as 2,450 more infections.
That brings the state's death toll from the outbreak to 2,559 with 58,505 residents testing positive for the virus.
"Social distancing works and it has limited the spread of this virus," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of IDPH, during the state's daily coronavirus update. "The weather is nice. You may have cabin fever. People are antsy. And boredom affects both children and adults."
She suggested a litany of potential activities to stave off boredom but emphasized a need for everyone to exercise.
"Physical activity should be prioritized," she said. "I know it's been hard on everyone, and I'm encouraging everyone to continue to do their best and keep the people of Illinois safe."
The majority of the state's deaths and infections have come from Chicago and the suburbs -- the more densely populated part of the state where it is hard to maintain social distancing in certain circumstances. However, infections have been diagnosed in 97 of the state's 102 counties, and deaths attributed to the virus have been reported in 45 counties since the outbreak began in mid-March.
The state also reported the new cases were from a batch of 15,208 test results, 16.1% of which were positive for coronavirus infections. That's less than the 19.5% infection rate of those tested the state is averaging since testing began March 10.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that while the state is seeing a growth in the number of new cases, that's a result of increased testing. A rolling seven-day average of positive tests results showed 17% of the tests taken were positive over the past week, from an average of 14,040 test results. The average for the previous week: 19.6% of test results were positive from an average daily batch of 9,173 tests.
"The gross number of cases, positive ones, isn't really an indication of much," he said.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also declined overnight.
The state is reporting 4,717 hospitalized patients from the coronavirus, including 1,250 in intensive care unit beds.
That's 300 fewer patients since Wednesday and 40 fewer in the ICU during the same time frame, according to the IDPH's online hospitalization report.
Pritzker has repeatedly said the hospitalization numbers are the most important when determining the next phase of reopening the state, though he has not said specifically what those numbers need to look like.
"We still have increased hospitalizations or flattened hospitalizations in some places," he said. "We need to watch those numbers and see them coming down."