Illinois hit an all-time high number of daily COVID-19 cases on Saturday, reaching 6,161 confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours.
This tops the previous high of 4,942 reached just two days ago. Illinois had logged 5,368 cases on September 4. But that was due to a backlog of cases tallied on a single day.
Saturday’s new high caseload was confirmed among nearly 84,000 tests. It brings the state’s seven-day average statewide positivity rate to 6.1%.
Public health officials also confirmed 63 deaths, bringing to 9,481 the total deaths in Illinois since the novel coronavirus pandemic began.
This spike in cases comes as numbers have been on the rise and several corners of the state are facing stricter rules to slow the virus’ spread. The state on Friday put half of Illinois counties on a warning list and also banned indoor dining in restaurants and bars in DuPage, Kane, Will and Kankakee counties. The same ban is already in place in northwestern Illinois.
And citing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed renewed restrictions in the city that took effect Friday.
Nonessential businesses are required to remain closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day within city limits. Bars that don’t serve food will have to stop indoor service and restaurants must end service at 10 pm.
In a more sweeping suggestion, Lightfoot’s administration is encouraging residents to stay away from social gatherings of more than six people, and to end all social gatherings by 10 p.m
The toll of the pandemic and the concerns about what lie ahead were on display Friday during a press conference with Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
While reporting the daily number of cases and deaths, Ezike began to cry and had to pause to compose herself. She’s been at the helm of the state’s public health department since the crisis began, usually delivering the daily tally of COVID-19 deaths herself.
Ezike carried on, imploring Illinois residents to keep up the fight against the virus and socially distance, to wear a mask, and to wash their hands.