State’s COVID-19 positivity rate moves up again

By Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD — For the fourth straight day, the rolling seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate in Illinois is on the rise, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.4 percent Thursday.

That comes as the state announced 1,624 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, July 23among 39,706 tests completed over the previous 24 hours. That made for a one-day positivity rate of 4.1 percent — the highest one-day total since June 8.

Hospitalization metrics, meanwhile, remained near their pandemic lows. At the end of Wednesday, 1,473 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Of those, 309 were in intensive care unit beds and 135 were on ventilators.

IDPH also reported another 20 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total casualties to 7,367 among 166,925 confirmed cases since the pandemic first reached Illinois. More than 2.38 million tests have been completed in the state.

The positivity rate in the Metro East region on the Missouri border was 6.9 percent as of July 20. That was slightly off the high of 7.1 percent, and the decrease meant that the area remained below the 8 percent positivity rate that would have led to state-mandated rollbacks of certain aspects of the economy.

Positivity rates for the other 10 regions ranged from 2.5 percent in the eastern Illinois region to 5.2 percent in Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will Counties.

Meanwhile, another 35,938 Illinoisans filed first-time unemployment claims for the week ending July 18, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, a decrease of 2,323 from the week prior. There were 655,116 continued unemployment claims for the week, which was 9,647 less than the week before, according to the statistics.

Nationally, there were more than 1.4 million new claims filed during the week ending July 18, an increase of 109,000 from the week before.

The number of nonfarm jobs decreased in June, compared to last year, in all 14 Illinois metropolitan areas, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s release of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  Six metro areas hit record low payrolls, according to the data.

Illinois’ unemployment rate was at 14.6 percent for June, according to IDES, which was a record for the month since 1976. Nationally, the unemployment rate was at 11.1 percent.