Coronavirus Illinois: IL COVID-19 cases increase by 869, with 36 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois COVID-19 cases increased by 869 on Thursday, as Chicago cracks down on Phase 4 violators.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 36 additional coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's death toll to 6,987. There's now a total of 144,882 cases across Illinois.

Deaths from COVID-19 reported across Illinois include the following:

- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 2 females 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 4 males 70s, 3 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 1 male 90s
- DeKalb County: 1 male 80s
- DuPage County: 1 female 80s
- Kane County: 1 female 70s
- Lake County: 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s
- St. Clair County: 1 female 70s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 80s

Within the last 24 hours, Illinois performed 30,262 tests, bringing the state's total to more than 1.6 million. Illinois set a single-day record on Wednesday, with 33,090 tests.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from June 25 -July 1 is 2.6%.

Chicago issued an emergency travel order Thursday requiring anyone entering the city from states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections to quarantine for 14 days.

Chicago will also begin cracking down on Phase 4 guidelines for businesses, starting Thursday.

Officials want to stop huge crowds disregarding capacity limits, social distancing and face coverings seen last weekend.

Businesses in violation could see fines of up to 10,000. Investigators can also immediately close businesses in the case of "egregious violations," the city said.

As cases surge around the country, Illinois remains firmly in Phase 4. To avoid an uptick like other states, Illinois and Chicago health officials warn that it's really a matter of personal responsibility, rather than policy, right now.

"The three W's, if you will, watching your distance, washing your hands, and wearing masks or face coverings have to be tied, intimately, to increased gatherings and recreating," warned Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "Hopefully, with those tied together we can still stay where we are or very close to where we are and not have a significant surge."

You've heard that advice before, but Illinois and Chicago health officials agree that it's now up to us, every individual. They say what we do individually is critical to what happens next.

"My ask for everyone in Chicago is to keep doing those things that we know work," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of Chicago's Department of Public Health. "The reason that we've seen the decreases that we've seen is mostly about individual level behavior change, even more than they are about the decisions we make at a systems level."

Across the region, Illinois' positivity rate - the percent of people testing positive each day - has remained stable around 2.7% over the last 5 days. In Michigan, it's lower. But in both Indiana and Wisconsin, it's climbing.

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Those traveling into Chicago from other states will not yet be required to quarantine themselves, Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday.



Some states - like New York and New Jersey - are now quarantining visitors from more than 15 states.

"If people are coming to visit you here in Chicago from those parts of the country, you want to be really careful with those folks," said Dr. Arwady. "You want to be keeping your distance, you don't want to be in crowds."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot remains steadfast about making tough choices, too.
"If we see that we're heading in the wrong direction, I'm not going to hesitate to take action," Lightfoot said.

So rather than policies - like quarantines or pausing reopening - health officials are focusing on personal responsibility.

"I'm just imploring that these same individuals that got us to this stage will continue to be responsible and take responsible actions," said Dr. Ezike. That means "continuing to wash their hands, wear their face coverings, and watch their distance."

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Those traveling into Chicago from other states will not yet be required to quarantine themselves, Dr. Allison Arwady said Wednesday.



Dr. Arwady joined ABC 7 Chicago remotely Wednesday to talk about Chicago's progress. She said the city's health officials are "cautiously optimistic."

Chicago can tolerate some small increases in COVID-19 cases, but it's important to avoid big spikes. When those spikes happen, health officials plan to double down on testing and other forms of prevention.

But if there are significant increases, there will be a pause on reopening, or even a step back, Arwady said.

She also said Chicago's beaches might reopen after the Fourth of July weekend because of the risk of large crowds gathering over the holiday.

And although other cities and states have established mandatory quarantines for those traveling from other locations, Chicago has not yet put one in place.
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