Illinois reports a record 9,935 new COVID-19 cases, passes 10,000 total deaths
Ninety-seven more people died from COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the state's total to 10,030 as Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned of tougher restrictions if individuals continue to flout public health rules and local officials don't enforce them while the virus surges.
The number of new cases reported in a day skyrocketed Thursday to 9,935, a new high.
Illinois hospitals had 3,891 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday night, the highest level since May 21, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported. Average daily hospitalizations more than doubled to 3,654 in November compared to 1,591 patients for the same period in October.
If scofflaws persist in ignoring rules about masking, indoor dining and gathering sizes, "in some areas of the state it will mean you'll run out of hospital beds, and nurses, and doctors who can treat you," Pritzker said.
"If hospitals continue to fill up, if more and more people continue to lose their lives ... we're going to implement further statewide mitigations, which nobody, and I mean nobody, wants."
The average number of deaths from COVID-19 has grown by 10 a day in the last week. The current seven-day average is 51 deaths compared to 41 deaths between Oct. 23 and 29. More than 46% of the state's deaths comprise seniors age 80 and over.
Daily COVID-19 caseloads grew by 47% in that same time period, or an average of 7,533 infections in the last seven days contrasted with 5,043 from Oct. 23 to 29.
Asked about concerns by the McHenry County Health Department that 90% of restaurants and bars in the area are ignoring indoor dining prohibitions, Pritzker said local leaders and police need to step up and penalize scofflaws.
"That is their job, and when they don't enforce them (rules) people die," he said.
In other counties, mayors in Itasca and Libertyville, for example, have said they are concerned about restaurants going out of business and won't crack down on scofflaws.
State rules allow for a warning first, then citations of up to $2,500.
"Believe me, when one of them (businesses) gets a citation, others hear about it," Pritzker said. "When five of them get a citation, all of them hear about it."
Without conformance to public health precautions, "we're heading down a very dark path toward where we were last spring," he said.
In late March and April, COVID-19 cases burgeoned in hospitals and the state imposed a stay-at-home order for nonessential workers and businesses.
Illinois' virus test positivity rate is 9.1% based on a seven-day average, reflecting a continuous upward climb. On Oct. 5, it was 3.4%.
Friday will mark two weeks since the state imposed restrictions, such as no indoor dining in DuPage and Kane counties (Region 8) and Will and Kankakee counties (Region 7), to reduce spread of COVID-19 after the four surpassed an 8% test positivity rate. Those rates haven't diminished, as Region 7 now has an average 13.4% virus positivity rate. Region 8 has a rate of 11.7%, meaning the four counties will likely see additional restrictions Friday.
Total virus infections in Illinois stand at 447,491. State labs processed 86,015 tests in the last 24 hours.
IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike issued cautions about Thanksgiving travel.
"Travel will increase your chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19, as will going to a crowded event, as will having people in your home for Thanksgiving. There is significant potential for harm -- and death, and it's not just for yourself but other members of your family and other people you may not even know," she said.