Illinois COVID-19: 1,492 new coronavirus cases, 39 deaths reported; Chicago infection levels creeping up

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois health officials reported 1,492 new coronavirus cases and 39 additional deaths Tuesday.

This is the largest number of new deaths reported in Illinois since 40 deaths on June 25.

The Illinois Department of Public Health now reports a total of 236,515 cases and 8,064 deaths in 102 counties in the state.

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TUesday Illinois reported 39 new COVID-19 deaths and 1,492 new cases, the most deaths from the virus since late June.



The statewide positivity rate for the period of August 24 - August 30 is 4.3%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 22,961 specimens for a total of 4,087,122.

In the state's Region 4, Metro East near St. Louis, the positivity rate has continued to rise despite some mitigation efforts. It now stands at 9.6%, and starting Wednesday bars and restaurants must stop indoor service and all outdoor dining must end by 11 p.m.

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The number of infections in Chicago is also continuing to climb slowly. The city is now averaging about 350 new cases a day, well above the less than 200 per day target needed to loosen restrictions.

Current restrictions could be tightened if daily cases rise above 400.

"Even if it is slow, if we continue to see these increases that we are seeing, that becomes a surge," said Chicago Public Health Director Dr. Allison Arwady.

Compared to the spring, when congregate settings like nursing homes were hotspots, the current drivers of infections are informal gatherings like backyard barbecues and other friendly get-togethers.

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"We're seeing that the majority of community spread now is happening at the neighborhood and family gathering level," said Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force. "The social distancing piece can't just be around people that we don't know. It has to be around people that we do know."

Officials said a little more than half of new cases in Chicago involve members of the Latinx community, with parts of the city's northwest and southwest sides seeing especially high infection rates.

Arwady also said Indiana could be added to the city's emergency travel order next week if a troubling rise in cases doesn't subside. Indiana college towns are of particular concern, including South Bend where hundreds of cases at Notre Dame led to a two-week move to remote learning.

Indiana could be added to COVID-19 emergency travel order next week

"We have concerns about Indiana and particularly would encourage you not to travel to college and university towns in Indiana," Arwady said.

As of Monday night, 1,513 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 362 patients were in the ICU and 146 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
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