CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported a record-breaking 238 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, shattering the one-day record of 191 set on May 13.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said some data reported to IDPH is delayed from the weekends, including this past holiday weekend. The state also announced 9,757 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases.
"Higher case numbers and higher numbers of hospitalizations do lead to, tragically, even more lives lost," Gov. JB Pritzker said.
The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 748,603, with a total of 12,639 deaths.
Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 85,507 specimens. In total there have been 10,699,586 test specimens tested since the start of the pandemic in Illinois.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 25 - Dec. 1 is 12.5%.
The test positivity rate is a metric the state began providing in late October. It is calculated by using the total number of positive tests over the total number of tests. This is the metric being used to by state health officials to make decisions about mitigations.
As of Tuesday night, 5,764 people in Illinois were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 1,190 patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 and 714 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezeke honored frontline healthcare workers Wednesday as they marked the highest one-day total of COVID-19 fatalities since the pandemic started.
"To those 238 sets of families, friends and loved ones, as well as the thousands more who preceded them, I offer my sincerest and my deepest condolences," Gov. Pritzker said. "This pandemic stole someone from your lives too soon."
And there other concerning metrics ahead of what could be a post-Thanksgiving surge. Only 19% of the state's ICU beds are available, below the 20% warning threshold.
The number of non-ICU beds is also at concerning levels in many of the collar counties, and even worse in some areas downstate.
"This recent spike in cases has put a strain on the number of available hospital beds, in particular ICU beds, which could impact the care of patients including those who have non-COVID like illnesses," said Dr. Christopher Farrar, medical director at Anderson Hospital near St. Louis.
There is some good news, however. Officials say the average length of hospital stays is about two days shorter than it was during the spring.
"We do know that you have a much better chance of surviving COVID-19 in the hospital now as opposed to wave one," Dr. Ezike said.
Gov. Pritzker also updated the state's vaccine distribution plan, saying the state could receive its first doses in as early as two weeks with priority given to the hardest-hit counties.
"We will be distributing vaccines proportionate to population across the state so that there's no one that will get left behind as a result of being from a more rural area, for example, or a more urban area," Gov. Pritzker said. "It's really going to be divided up on population although there will be prioritization given up-front to counties that have had the highest per capita death rates."
Days after millions traveled for Thanksgiving, state officials expressed support Wednesday for the CDC's new guidance reducing the quarantine timeline from 14 days to 7 days with a negative test, and 10 days without a test. The goal is to increase compliance.
"There's a phrase, I guess, don't let perfect be the enemy of the good," Dr. Ezike said. "If everybody does the 10 days, where they're quarantining for those 10 days, we will get 90 to 99-percent of those infections. Would I like to get 100? Of course."
Some hospitals systems also expressing support for that shorter quarantine time because it will allow some healthcare workers to get back on the job sooner at time staffing is at premium.
For a safety net hospitals like the new Roseland Community Hospital, the CDC's loosening of its quarantine guidelines were right on time.
"So we can bring those valuable employees doctors, nurses back to work," explained Tim Egan, the new Roseland Community Hospital president & CEO. "It's a big help."
Still plagued with staffing issues despite adding more professionals, having to sideline medical staff exposed to COVID-19 infected people put a strain on the South Side facility's ability to care for their patients.
"A lot of nurses and respiratory therapists and doctors are getting exposed because we are overrun with this COVID surge," said Dr. Victoria Brander, COVID-19 preparedness director at Roseland Hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines reducing the number of days of quarantine from 14 to 7-10 days following exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.
If exposed to COVID-19, an individual can end quarantine after 7 days if they receive a negative test result, or must remain isolated for 10 days without getting tested.
"The data is actually pretty good," Dr. Brander said. "The data comes from the Centers for Disease Control internal data as well as a very large study published just recently in 'The Lancet,' which is the premiere British medical journal where they followed thousands of people."
The new guidance also calls for testing of silent spread or those who are infected but don't have symptoms, including essential workers, educators, shift workers, and some students.
Roseland Hospital officials say they've performed over 20,000 COVID-19 tests since April and hope these new rules along with a vaccine will help defeat the virus.
"It helps us manage that frontline that is so critical, treating this dastardly virus that guideline is helping us in this battle for sure," Egan said.
The deaths reported Wednesday include:
- Adams County: 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
- Alexander County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s
- Boone County: 1 female 70s
- Bureau County: 3 males 70s, 1 female 80s
- Calhoun County: 1 female 60s
- Clay County: 1 female 70s
- Clinton County: 1 female 90s
- Coles County: 1 male 90s
- Cook County: 3 females 40s, 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 5 males 50s, 3 females 60s, 4 males 60s, 9 females 70s, 19 males 70s, 8 females 80s, 5 males 80s, 8 female 90s, 5 males 90s
- Cumberland County: 1 female 80s
- DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 5 males 70s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s,
- Edgar County: 1 male 90s
- Effingham County: 1 male 60s
- Fayette County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
- Franklin County: 1 female 90s
- Grundy County: 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
- Hamilton County: 1 male 70s
- Hancock County: 1 male 80s
- Hardin County: 1 male 80s
- Henry County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- Iroquois County: 2 males 80s
- Jasper County: 1 female 60s
- Jefferson County: 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s,
- Jo Daviess County: 1 female 60s
- Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 male 90s, 1 male 100+
- Kankakee County: 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 females 90s
- Kendall County: 2 males 80s, 1 male 100+
- Knox County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
- Lake County: 1 male 50s, 4 males 60s, 2 females 70s, 3 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
- LaSalle County: 2 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s
- Lawrence County: 1 female 70s
- Lee County: 1 female 80s
- Livingston County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s, 3 females 90s, 1 male 90s
- Logan County: 1 female 80s
- Macon County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- Macoupin County: 1 female 70s
- Madison County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- Marion County: 2 females 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- Marshall County: 1 female 70s
- Massac County: 1 female 80s
- McHenry County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s
- Menard County: 1 female 70s
- Mercer County: 1 male 70s
- Monroe County: 1 female 80s
- Morgan County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
- Moultrie County: 1 male 80s
- Ogle County: 1 male 90s, 1 female 100+
- Peoria County: 2 males 80s
- Perry County: 1 female 70s
- Pike County: 2 females 80s
- Rock Island County: 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- Saline County: 1 male 70s
- Sangamon County: 1 female 80s
- St. Clair County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
- Tazewell County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
- Vermilion County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
- Whiteside County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- Will County: 1 female 60s, 3 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 5 males 80s, 1 male 90s
- Woodford County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s
The Associated Press contributed to this report.