1,941 more COVID-19 cases, 21 more deaths, and an eye on suburbs' positivity rates
Illinois' COVID-19 case total grew by 1,941 Friday, and the death toll from the respiratory disease rose by 21, as the state reported a record number of 49,782 daily tests for the respiratory disease.
It's the 10th day in a row of new caseloads totaling over 1,200 and the highest daily infection count since May 24, when the tally was 2,508, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported. But the average daily number of people dying has decreased -- from 52 a day in June to 19 a day in July.
"We've had a record number of tests done, which will no matter what, will typically result in a record number of cases ... particularly as we're rising now," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at an event in Downers Grove.
Three suburban regions are being watched for increasing COVID-19 positivity rates. Cook County has an average positivity rate of 5.7% as of Tuesday, the IDPH reported. That rate has risen each of the past nine days.
Lake and McHenry counties have an average positivity rate of 5.3%; that rate has risen for eight days.
Will and Kankakee counties have a 6.3% average positivity rate; that rate has increased for seven days.
DuPage and Kane counties have a 4.7% positivity rate that does not activate warnings, though it has risen for five days.
The state is divided into 11 regions to monitor COVID-19 conditions and predict whether a surge is occurring.
A combination of sustained increases in the test positivity rate and hospitalizations or a reduction below 20% in the number of ICU or hospital beds can trigger restrictions for a region, such as banning indoor dining at restaurants.
Another trigger is three consecutive days with an 8% or greater positivity rate.
Separate statistics show the suburbs continue to set off state warning levels for exceeding 50 per 100,000 cases of COVID-19 for the week ending July 25, the IDPH reported Friday. Lake County is at 90 cases per 100,000 people, McHenry is at 75, DuPage is at 73, suburban Cook is at 70, Kane is at 66, and Will is at 65.
The localized information is intended to help Illinoisans make informed decisions about COVID-19 risks.
"In those regions that cross over the metrics we have set, we will have to impose some mitigations," Pritzker said. He attended a mask giveaway in Downers Grove prompted by Olivia Dru Tyler, 7, of Lombard, who makes face coverings to benefit people who are homeless.
The IDPH announced Friday that 13 counties -- Cass, Champaign, Gallatin, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Perry, Randolph, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair, White and Whiteside -- reached warning levels in two or more risk factors.
The total infections statewide are 178,837 and the total number of fatalities reached 7,495.
The seven-day average COVID-19 test positivity rate ticked up to 3.9%, compared to 3.8%, where it has rested since Monday.
It's the 10th day in a row that daily case counts have surpassed 1,000. The daily average for July is 1,150 compared to 756 in June.
The number of people in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 stands at 1,369 as of Thursday night, less than the weekly average of 1,420.
Meanwhile, researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Lakeforest Hospital are seeking volunteers for stage 3 clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Volunteers must be 18 or older and be at greater risk of virus exposure than other people such as health care workers, grocery store employees or nursing home staff members or residents.
The vaccine mimics COVID-19 and stimulates the body's immune system to create defenses. As a result, a vaccinated person "would have stored defenses that fight the virus and not allow it to infect your body," CDH physician Daniel Boyle said.
If all goes well, a vaccine might be available in early 2021, he said.
Patients would receive two injections and the trials are expected to start later in August. Earlier tests showed the vaccine was "safe and boosted antibody responses," officials said. To learn more, go to redcap.nubic.northwestern.edu/redcap/surveys/.