Illinois surpasses 4,000 deaths from COVID-19

By Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The state reported another 130 COVID-19-related deaths in 17 counties Friday, May 15 as the virus-related death toll surpassed 4,000.

There are now 90,369 confirmed cases of the virus in the state among 538,602 people tested. The cases have resulted in 4,058 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, there were 2,432 more positive cases confirmed among 26,565 tests completed. That made for a 9.2 percent positivity rate, which continues to trend downward.

“Overall, the positivity rate can be an indication of how widespread COVID-19 infections are among our population,” Gov.J.B. Pritzker said. “We all want the positivity rate to come down, which would indicate a declining number of people getting sick from the virus. The great news is that the positivity rate in Illinois is coming down.”

Pritzker said all four regions of his Restore Illinois plan for reopening the state’s economy have rolling positivity rates lower than 20 percent, which is necessary to move a region to the next phase of the plan.

“But I would urge caution and reading too far into this decline as there is a strong inverse correlation between the number of tests taken per day, and the associated positive rate, meaning that part of the reason for the lower positivity rate can be attributed to our increased testing,” Pritzker said.

He said testing is fundamental to the state’s ability to reopen the economy. Friday marked the second highest output of tests results in a single day.

“Reaching 20,000 tests per day is a great milestone, and we should celebrate it,” Pritzker said. “It put us in a position to keep more people safe from the virus and get people back to work faster, yet there is more to come, and much more for us to do.”

Pritzker said the most recent seven-day average of tests completed extrapolated over an entire month shows the state is now capable of testing 4.7 percent of its population per month.

“And we won’t stop growing our testing until this pandemic is over,” he said.