COVID 19 Illinois: IL reports 2,208 new coronavirus cases, 24 deaths

Young Will County residents make up most COVID-19 cases, health department says
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois health officials reported 2,208 new coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths Friday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health now reports a total of 215,929 cases and 7,857 deaths.

The statewide positivity rate for the period of Aug. 14 - 20 stands at 4.3%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 51,736 specimens for a total of 3,592,919.

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As of Thursday night, 1,526 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 351 patients were in the ICU and 121 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The additional deaths reported Friday include:

- Cook County: 1 male 30s, 2 males 40s, 2 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s,1 female 80s
- DuPage County: 1 male 50s
- Iroquois County: 1 male 80s
- Knox County: 1 female 80s
- Lake County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- LaSalle County: 1 female 70s
- Macon County: 1 female 80s
- Madison County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 90s
- Mason County: 1 male 50s
- Perry County: 1 male 90s
- Rock Island County: 1 female 80s
- Sangamon County: 1 female 90s

- Will County: 1 male 60s
- Williamson County: 1 male 70s

Young Will County residents make up most COVID-19 cases, health department says

Young Will County residents make up most of the south suburban county's COVID-19 cases right now, a health department spokesman said Thursday.

Will County is part of the state's Region 7, and it's at warning level for the coronavirus.

Its positivity rate is seeing the biggest rise locally, at 7.2%.

Will County Health Department spokesman Steve Brandy joined ABC 7 Chicago Thursday to discuss the issue.

He said a lot of younger people are testing positive; residents in their 20s make up the largest group.

Despite a rising positivity rate, the county is not taking any additional restrictive measures, Brandy said. Officials are telling people to call the health department COVID-19 hotline at 815-740-8977, if they see something violating existing COVID-19 guidelines.

Brandy said they are also using targeted messaging to get the word out about virus mitigation.

On Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that state health officials will be using a new groundbreaking saliva-based test developed at the University of Illinois.

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Illinois health officials reported 2,295 new coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths Wednesday.

The saliva COVID-19 test was created at U of I Urbana Champaign and is now getting emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration under an umbrella approval on the heels of a similar test created by Yale researchers.

"This news puts the University of Illinois and the entire state of Illinois on the cutting edge of testing innovation as a national player," Pritzker said.

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U of I researchers say it is faster, cheaper and requires significantly less raw materials than traditional testing. The new test can turn results within 3-6 hours, which scientists say is contributing to the drop in positivity rates.
"The faster we can find individuals who are positive and get them isolated, the better," said Dr. Martin Burke. "If we can do a fast test and we can do it frequently, finally the numbers tip and suggest we can defeat this virus."

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At just $10 a specimen, tests can be done frequently, giving hope to researchers for widespread use as Illinois cases continue to rise.

"Honestly, it gave me hope. We can go on offense here and figure out a way to innovate our way out of this very difficult situation," Dr. Burke said.

"We want to be proactive and not be chasing our tail as it spirals out of control," said Dr. Ngozi Izeke with the Illinois Department of Public Health. "Prevention is always the best plan."

It's currently being utilized on the U of I campus where students are returning for the fall semester this week.

"With everything happening right now, it's always on your mind," said U of I student Jimmy Kokinis. "It helps you just kind of let go of that worry and focus on the school year and your class, like it's any other normal school year."

Once results are complete, they can be accessed on an app that can then be shown at campus events and establishments that require it.

"You need your app to show yellow or green, which means you had a negative test within the past week or two back-to-back negative tests, and if you did test positive you're actually denied access to every building," Kokinis said.

The school launched a pilot program over the summer, which officials say drastically lowered U of I's positivity rate.

Kokinis was one who did test positive during that timeframe, although he says he was asymptomatic.

"The quick results actually allowed me to quarantine myself efficiently and stop any of my roommates from testing positive," he said.

With FDA approval the goal is to expand the use of the test to other parts of the state, including K-through-12 schools, though officials have no timeline.

As health officials continue to monitor the spread of the virus in the state, they say 14 counties are at a higher risk of COVID-19. According to a map from the state health department, blue counties represent areas where the COVID-19 metrics remain stable, but orange areas are under a warning.
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