CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois has reported more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases for a third consecutive day.
State health officials announced 1,532 new coronavirus cases and 19 additional deaths on Friday, a day after Illinois reported its highest daily case total this month.
On Thursday, Illinois reported 1,624 new COVID-19 cases.
The state's seven-day statewide positivity rate remains at 3.4%, after rising for several days.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday that the state's total confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 168,457, including 7,385 deaths.
The deaths include:
- Cook County: 1 female 60s, 3 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 4 females 80s, 4 females 90s
- DuPage County: 3 females 90s, 1 female 100+
- Winnebago County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s
Illinois health officials also reported Friday that four counties are considered to be at warning level for COVID-19. A county reaches a warning level when "two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase," IDPH said.
The counties that are reported at warning level are Adams, LaSalle, Peoria and Randolph counties, and each saw outbreaks associated with businesses and risky behavior.
IDPH provided the following information about what led to the warning level labeling:
- Adams County: larger social events, health care exposure, travel to hotspots including those in neighboring Missouri and Iowa, places of worship, and youth sports.
- LaSalle County: large family and social gatherings, increase in cases among people younger than 29 years, younger people visiting bars and attending larger social events, and inconsistencies with masking requirements.
- Peoria County: increases in cases among people younger than 29 years, large gatherings including 4th of July parties, and people traveling to Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Wisconsin.
- Randolph County: congregate settings, numerous bars not complying with distancing and masking, a large party with more than 200 people, and among households.
For more information, visit IDPH's county metrics page.
Officials said 1,471 people in Illinois are hospitalized for COVID-19, with 325 patients in the ICU and 115 on ventilators, as of Friday.
COVID-19-related hospital admissions remain low at Loyola Medical Center remain low, but there's concern.
"I think this is an extremely crucial moment," said Dr. Kevin Smith, Chief Medical Officer. "The question that everybody is wondering is, okay, if we're seeing increases in these cases, are we expecting that we're going to see hospitalizations increase?"
The governor's office is continuing to closely monitor the situation, but at this point no decisions about imposing new restrictions have been made.
On Thursday, residents in six central and southern Illinois counties filed lawsuits against state-ordered restrictions on social interaction prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The actions taken in Bond, Clay, Clinton, Edgar, Richland and Sangamon counties seek court orders declaring there is no public health emergency as defined by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Public Health Department. Springfield, the state capital, is in Sangamon County.
Plaintiffs in each case seek injunctions against Pritzker's disaster declaration, which restricts public interaction to slow transmission of the virus.
Pritzker's general counsel said no one should question basic safeguards during a pandemic.
A crackdown on bars and breweries begins in Chicago on Friday.
All bars and taverns, can no longer serve customers indoors. For restaurants serving indoors, a party of six is the maximum permitted.
New restrictions are also taking effect for Chicago gyms, where indoor classes will be limited to 10 people.
There are also concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and its impact on Chicago and the rest of the state.
"I do hope that, as you know the data, that they can turn it around in Wisconsin and quickly, because I know Chicagoans like to go to Wisconsin and Wisconsin folk like to come to Chicago," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker held a press conference and said Metro East region, which includes counties in southwestern Illinois, is seeing a rise in cases. Pritzker said the increase could result in the state needing to step in to take mitigating actions.
"I have spoken with local leaders and I have asked them to clamp down on the outbreaks where they are occurring so that the state won't have to step in," Pritzker said.
The increase is partly due to businesses and individual behavior, according to state health leaders.
"We are seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "You have probably seen people crowding into bars, areas where people were not wearing masks, or maintaining 6 feet of distance between one another."
"You can go from 3% positivity to Arizona's 23% positivity in the blink of an eye," Pritzker said. "We've been there. Let's not let that happen again."
Wisconsin could also be the next state added to Chicago's travel quarantine order, with a decision on that expected next week. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he is mulling a mandatory mask order, but is concerned about legal challenges. He is also worried about the impact of a possible travel ban.
"The message for us is if Chicago thinks our people should stay home, then we better put some damn masks on," he said.
The city, for its part, is still working on the logistics should a travel ban include Wisconsin.
"If the risk is high there, people, you know, would be subject to that quarantine unless they're traveling for essential purposes," Arwady said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The video in the featured player is from an earlier report.