Illinois sets new one-day record for COVID-19 cases at 4,942
The number of new COVID-19 cases spiked Thursday to a new high of 4,942, and 44 more people died from the respiratory disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
In a week, daily infections have risen by more than 36%, or an average of 4,007 in the last seven days compared to 2,988 between Oct. 9 to 15.
In a positive move, the cumulative tests for the virus in Illinois topped 7 million within the last 24 hours, authorities said. State health officials consider testing to be a key to curtailing spread.
New restrictions begin Friday in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties. The changes were ordered by Gov. J.B. Pritzker after positive results on COVID-19 tests exceeded 8% for three days in a row. Gatherings are limited to 25 people or 25% of room capacity, some business hours are reduced and indoor food and bar service are banned. Some restaurants vowed to defy the order.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for nonessential businesses and a ban on indoor service at bars that do not have food licenses, beginning Friday
Pritzker also announced tighter restrictions on nine counties in northwestern Illinois that include Rockford, Galena and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Restrictions including a ban on indoor bar and restaurant service were imposed Oct. 3, but positive test results rose to 11.9% as of Thursday. Effective Sunday, tighter limits include a maximum gathering size of 10 people.
"These mitigations are not fun for anyone but they're meant to protect people and save lives," Pritzker said Thursday at a briefing in Belleville.
"This pandemic is the greatest challenge many of us will experience in our lifetimes and, when it comes to managing it, these are the best tools to find our way through. We've got to get this under control."
The state's previous single-day record number of new cases was 4,015 announced Oct. 15. Before that, it was 4,014 cases on May 12.
McHenry County recorded 140 new cases Thursday -- the first time the county has recorded more than 100 new cases in a single day. Those new cases are from 1,110 test results, showing a daily infection rate of 12.6%. The seven-day average test positivity rate for McHenry climbed to 9.1%.
Lake and McHenry counties, which border Wisconsin and comprise Region 9, showed a combined positivity rate of 7.8% as of Monday, the IDPH reported.
"A massive surge of cases in neighboring states continues to have a spillover effect," Pritzker said. Iowa and Wisconsin have positivity rates of 21.4% and 14.3%, according to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource.
Overall, 5.7% of tests in Illinois have positive results, based on a seven-day average and reflecting an upward trend. Labs processed 80,977 tests in the last 24 hours.
There were 2,463 patients in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 as of Wednesday night, the highest since early June and higher than the seven-day average of 2,180.
Hospitalizations averaged 1,845 a day from Oct. 8 to Oct. 14.
The state's recovery rate from the virus is 97%, and Illinois' total cases reached 360,159 with deaths totaling 9,387 since the pandemic began.
Illinois' largest daily count of COVID-19 infections was 5,368 on Sept. 4, but that included cases that were backlogged because of data processing problems since corrected.
• Daily Herald Staff Writer Jake Griffin contributed to this report.