Illinois' COVID-19 death toll dips below 100 for first time in five days

For the first time in five days Illinois' daily death toll from the COVID-19 virus fell below 100, state health authorities announced Sunday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,656 new cases of the coronavirus since Saturday and 57 additional deaths. The case figure is the lowest since April 21, when 1,551 new cases were confirmed.

The IDPH is now reporting a total of 77,741 cases in 98 Illinois counties and 3,406 deaths from the virus.

Among the deaths reported Sunday were 52 residents of Cook County as well as a Kane County man in his 30s, officials said.

In the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 13,653 tests, bringing the state's total to 429,984.

Earlier in the day, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on the CNN program "State of the Union" said Illinois has seen cases of an inflammatory syndrome affecting children that may be linked to the coronavirus. The disease is believed to have killed three children in New York.

"It hasn't been yet categorized in Illinois. But we just put together a group within our department of public health to track these cases and, of course, to bring in folks who can help us answer the question, how do we protect children from this? What is causing this particular strain? Is it really coronavirus?" he said.

Pritzker said the increase in cases the state has reported for most of the month is the result of additional testing, adding that among the country's 10 most populous states, Illinois ranks second in testing.

He also responded to criticism that he had "shifted goal posts" when it comes to deciding under what circumstances the state could return to some semblance of normalcy.

"Assuming we maybe never get a vaccine, we are going to have to deal with hopefully a treatment that will come along that will be very effective," he said. "But, even without that, everyone's going to have to wear a mask. We're still going to have to socially distance. The truth is that coronavirus is still out there. It hasn't gone anywhere. And so we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we're able to eradicate it."

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