IDPH lists 178 more 'probable' COVID-19 deaths
State health officials announced Monday 23 more Illinois residents have died from COVID-19, while 658 others are infected with the disease.
But the Illinois Department of Public Health also began reporting "probable" cases and deaths, based on a directive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state is reporting 724 probable cases and 178 probable deaths from the disease.
It's unclear how the state is determining the probable cases. The CDC defines probable infections and deaths as "meeting clinical criteria and epidemiological evidence" with no confirmed tests, meeting "presumptive laboratory evidence and either clinical criteria or epidemiologic evidence," or the patient or decedent meets "vital records criteria" but was never tested.
In April -- when testing supplies were limited and only the severely symptomatic were being tested -- the CDC urged states to count probable cases and deaths, but a Washington Post investigation released Monday found only about half the states did.
The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a news release outlining the rationale for reporting the probable cases and deaths.
"Reporting probable cases will help show the potential burden of COVID-19 illness and efficacy of population-based non-pharmaceutical interventions," the release stated.
The probable case and death data will be updated weekly, officials said.
The figures considered "probable" are not being added to the state's confirmed cases and death tallies, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
The 23 new confirmed fatalities Monday bring the state's death toll to 5,924 since the outbreak began, with 128,415 Illinoisans who have tested positive.
The state's seven-day rolling average infection rate is now 5.1%, down from 6.2% a week ago, according to an analysis of daily IDPH testing and infection data. In the Northeast region of the state, which includes Chicago and the suburbs, the seven-day infection rate is listed at 9% as of June 5, according to the IDPH's regional data portal.
Additionally, the state is reporting that COVID-19 hospitalizations continue their steady decline. The 2,496 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the state Monday is 22.4% less than just a week ago, according to the IDPH data portal. COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care beds are at an all-time low as well, at 713.
While the state has relaxed some restrictions on gatherings and business operations, health officials urge residents to maintain social distancing practices and wear face coverings in public to help prevent the potential for a second wave of infections.
Elsewhere, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced the resumption of in-person jail visitation as of last Friday. Ten visitation areas have been set up about 30 feet from each other. All visitors are screened before entering the facility and are required to wear masks.
The Cook County jail experienced a significant number of cases at the start of the outbreak, affecting deputies and inmates.