State reopens as positivity rate ticks slightly upward 

By Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois 

The graph shows the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported each day by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)

SPRINGFIELD – As the state entered Phase 4 of its COVID-19 reopening plan Friday, June 26 the Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 800 new cases of the virus among more than 30,000 tests completed for the second straight day.

The 857 new cases among 30,425 tests completed made for a 2.8 percent positivity rate, matching Thursday’s number. That put the rolling, seven-day positivity rate for tests conducted at 2.7 percent, which was an increase of one-tenth of a percent from the previous day, and an increase of three-tenths of a percent from the seven-day rolling rate on Tuesday, June 23.

The two consecutive days of more than 850 new cases is the first time that has happened since June 6-7, when there were 975 and 867 cases, respectively.

Each day since then, the cases remained below 800, dipping to a low of 462 in a one-day period on June 22 before moving upward once again.

On Thursday, June 25, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he would not hesitate to move any of the state’s four reopening regions backward if COVID-19 cases pick up, but he said he still viewed the state as on a stable path even though it saw more than 800 new cases.

“Obviously, every day I watch the numbers and I think, you know, are we going in the right direction? And I’m rooting for it to go the right direction and we’re making policies that we hope will move it in the right direction,” Pritzker said June 25 in Chicago. “We’re watching. I would wait to make a judgment about whether there’s some direction here that it’s going, but right now I would call it stable.”

According to IDPH data, there were 1,516 hospital beds in use by COVID-19 patients as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday – the first time that number dipped below 1,600 since the state began reporting the data daily on April 12. Of those, 400 were intensive care unit beds, representing an increase of one from the day prior and 11 from two days prior.

After 11 days remaining flat or decreasing, ventilators in use by COVID-19 patients ticked upward slightly, to 225 from 216 the day prior.

All numbers remained far below the peaks of April and May and even where they were two weeks ago. Hospital bed usage peaked at more than 5,000 on April 28, while the number in use was over 2,000 as recently as June 12, and over 1,800 on June 18.

There have been 140,291 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois since the pandemic began, and 6,847 COVID-19-related deaths. The state has reported nearly 1.49 million test results.

According to IDPH, the recovery rate of those 42 days removed from a positive diagnosis is 94 percent.