CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials announced a record-high 4,942 new cases of COVID-19, along with 44 additional deaths Thursday.
The number of new cases is the highest one-day jump in cases in Illinois since the pandemic began. While there were 5,368 new cases reported on September 4, it was the result of a multi-day backlog in cases.
WATCH: Gov. Pritzker's COVID-19 update: October 22, 2020
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 360,159, with 9,387deaths, the IDPH reported.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 80,977 specimens for a total of 7,031,082. The seven-day positivity rate from October 15 - October 21 is 5.7%, the first time it has not risen in more than two weeks.
As of Wednesday night, 2,463 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 525 in the ICU and 212 on ventilators.
The deaths reported Thursday include:
-Carroll County: 1 female 90s
- Christian County: 1 male 90s
- Clay County: 1 female 70s
- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 male 50s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s
- DeWitt County: 1 male 70s
- DuPage County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 80s
- Effingham County: 1 male 90s
- Jefferson County: 1 male 80s
- Kane County: 1 female 70s
- Knox County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- LaSalle County: 1 female 80s
- Marion County: 1 female 90s
- McDonough County: 1 male 70s
- Peoria County: 1 female 90s
- Randolph County: 1 female 80s
- Richland County: 1 male 80s
- Sangamon County: 1 female 80s
- Shelby County: 1 male 70s
- St. Clair County: 1 male 90s
- Tazewell County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Wayne County: 1 male 80s
- White County: 1 female 80s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s
WATCH: Gov. Pritzker outlines vaccine distribution plan
A month after the FDA unveiled its plan to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine to the population free of charge once one is available, Gov. JB Pritzker released his own plan for Illinois on Wednesday.
"We are independently going to be looking at and ensuring that whatever it is that we distribute in the state will be safe," Gov. Pritzker said.
The governor decision to assemble an independent team of experts to ensure the eventual vaccine's safety is in line with what New York and California have announced in recent days. And while politics may be involved in that decision, infectious disease experts said the process will help to ensure people want to get vaccinated.
"It is really important because things have come through very quickly to make sure that it is evaluated," said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, UI Health medical director for infection prevention. "You have to look at this and decide how does this apply to my patient population? That has to be done at the state level."
The governor's vaccination plan is one that admittedly is low on specifics. There is still much that is not known, such as which company's vaccine or vaccines will be approved first, how many doses it will require, and how will it be stored.
But one thing was made clear: it will not be available to the population at large for at least several months after rollout.
"There will be limited doses that are going to be available when we get the first batch and then production will ramp up after that, but for that initial group it will absolutely be health care workers will be first," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.