CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The state of Illinois has reported three more deaths due to the novel coronavirus.
That takes the state's death toll due to COVID-19 to four individuals.
The latest fatalities are a man in his 50s in Will County; a woman in her 80s from Cook County and a owman in her 70s from Floriday who was visiting Sangamon County.
The number of cases of coronavirus statewide has risen to 422, across 22 counties, said Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois director of public health.
Five additional counties are now reporting cases: Jackson, Kankakee, LaSalle, Washington and Williamson.
The number of novel coronavirus cases was reported as 288 on Wednesday, but officials say it's normal for the number to jump as greater testing capacity is rolled out. But it is still assumed transmissions are occurring in real time.
Also Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the state will delay collection of sales taxes to give businesses some relief. He also said the Illinois National Guard will assist in setting up mobile testing units and expanding hospital capacity.
The governor stressed people must continue to use "social distance" to help stem the spread of COVID-19, which is potentially fatal to the elderly and people with underyling health issues.
"We have to flatten the curve," Pritzker said.