State urges tests for those who've been in large groups amid 116 new COVID-19 deaths

  • Members of the Illinois National Guard work with the public at the state's drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at Rolling Meadows High School.

      Members of the Illinois National Guard work with the public at the state's drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at Rolling Meadows High School. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 6/4/2020 6:34 PM

As cases of COVID-19 rose by 929 and deaths increased by 116 Thursday, officials urged people who participated in large events -- including protests over the death of George Floyd -- to get tested for the respiratory disease.

"As people gather in large crowds with varying degrees of social distancing, there is cause for concern about COVID19 spread and outbreaks, especially if masks were not worn universally," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Illinois is now 5,736 with 124,759 cases. Meanwhile, the state recovery rate is 92%, according to IDPH.

The daily increase in fatalities of 116 is higher than the 14-day average of 82; but the rise in cases -- 929 -- is much lower than the two-week average of 1,577.

The state is approaching a milestone 1 million COVID-19 tests, with 982,016 performed as of Thursday. In the last 24 hours, 22,841 tests were performed with a 6% positive rate for infection.

"I urge anyone who recently attended a rally, protest, or other mass gathering to get tested for COVID-19 so we can identify any cases early," Ezike said.

"We recommend testing five to seven days after participating in large group rallies, or immediately if symptoms develop. If there are known cases, we can make sure those people are quarantined and not exposing other individuals."

The advice comes after a week of protests across the nation, city and suburbs in the wake of the death of George Floyd as a police officer put a knee on Floyd's neck May 25 in Minneapolis.

All 11 state-run testing sites are now open after closures Monday and Tuesday related to redeployment of Illinois National Guard troops, who assist at the facilities, to help keep the peace. Those include drive-through sites in Rolling Meadows, Aurora and Waukegan, which relocated to 102 W. Water St. The facilities can test more than 6,000 people a day and do not require a referral.

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