Illinois public health officials reported 4,015 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, marking the highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. An additional 53 people have died.
In a release from the state, public health officials noted high testing counts, but also that the state’s 7-day-rolling case average is 4.9%. That’s the highest weekly average since June. The state has had higher testing counts this fall — as many as 72,000 tests on Oct. 2, for example — without seeing such a high number or rate of cases.
New cases are rising all across the state, and in Chicago, city data shows the coronavirus is spreading across all ages, races and ZIP codes.
Chicago’s Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady expressed serious concern Thursday about another coronavirus wave and said she is worried people are getting “COVID fatigue.”
“People are feeling like they are tired of wearing their masks, and they’re tired about social distancing. They’re often letting their guard down.” Arwady said. “It’s getting to be a more dangerous time for COVID[-19], which means it is not the time to be relaxing those behaviors.”
Arwady said the uptick in Chicago is not driven by specific outbreaks in certain places, like nursing homes and the Cook County Jail as was the case early in the pandemic. She said private schools, public transit and other places where social distancing and masks are required seem to be controlling the spread. The numbers indicate the uptick is just general community spread.
“This isn’t one person spreading to 100 people like we’ve occasionally seen in super-spreader [events],” she said. “If you have a reproduction number of two, that means two people go on to spread it to two other people, who go on to spread it to two other people, who go on to spread it to two other people.”
Given that, Arwady also recommended people avoid making holiday plans that involve large family gatherings and travel.
“This is not the year to have your traditional large Thanksgiving gathering,” she said.
WBEZ reporters Tony Arnold and Hunter Clauss contributed.
Becky Vevea covers politics for WBEZ. Follow her @beckyvevea.