Illinois coronavirus storm rages on: 166 more deaths, 11,028 new cases, hospitalizations climbing

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike at a Nov. 5 COVID-19 briefing.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike at a Nov. 5 COVID-19 briefing. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The state has now logged more new coronavirus cases over the first two weeks of November (about 145,000) than it did over the first four months of the pandemic combined (143,000). 

The coronavirus has claimed 166 more lives across Illinois and 11,028 more people have tested positive amid the state’s severe COVID-19 flareup, public health officials announced Saturday.

That ended a four-day streak of record-breaking daily tallies, capped by Friday’s mammoth caseload 15,415, the highest reported by any state across the nation throughout the pandemic.

In a similarly slight potential sign of encouragement, the latest cases were detected among a record-high 114,370 tests submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health, meaning that for the first time since Nov. 3, less than 10% of tests came back positive.

That lowered the average statewide testing positivity rate over the last week to 12.6%, though that number, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, is still up from 4.6% a month ago.

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The state has now logged more new coronavirus cases over the first two weeks of November (about 145,000) than it did over the first four months of the pandemic combined (143,000).

Saturday’s death toll was the third largest ever reported by the state in a single day, though it included 66 deaths that were left out of Friday’s count (27) due to a data reporting delay. Either way, it’s only the second time COVID-19 fatalities have measured in three digits since the end of the springtime surge.

Ninety of the latest victims were from the Chicago area.

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Health officials expect those grisly numbers to keep climbing as hospitals across the state admit the most coronavirus patients they’ve ever seen. By Friday night, 5,415 beds were taken up by coronavirus patients, an increase of 53 from the night before.

Other critical hospital metrics are also deteriorating toward troubling levels not seen since May, with 1,018 patients requiring intensive care and 499 using ventilators.

“We’re asking Illinoisans in every part of the state to stay home as much as possible – because the situation we face now is increasingly dangerous for healthcare workers and hospital systems in every part of the state,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted Saturday.

Officials in Chicago and suburban Cook County have issued stay-at-home advisories. Pritzker has signaled another statewide stay-at-home order could be on the way if numbers don’t improve soon.

Since March, nearly 9 million coronavirus tests have been administered, with about 563,000 people confirmed to carry the virus and 10,670 of those dying.

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November 14, 2020 at 01:28PM

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