Illinois Reports Highest New COVID-19 Daily Numbers Since May: Top Doctor Says 'We Are Not Where We Need To Be'


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois reported its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since May, according to the public health department.

Thursday saw 1,953 new cases and 21 deaths, the highest since May 24, when the state reported 2,508 cases. Five of the newly reported deaths were in Cook County, per the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

These numbers bring the total cases to 188,424 cases and 7,594 deaths statewide. 

Along with rising cases is the positivity rate in the state: The seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 30 – Aug. 5 is now 4.0%. 

ASK DR. ARWADY: Have questions about #coronavirus? Dr. Arwady from the Chicago Department of Public Health is answering your questions live right now. #AskDrArwady #StayHomeSaveLives

— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) August 6, 2020

Chicago's positivity rate is higher at 4.8%, which has steadily climbed since July 28. Last week, it was at 4.4%, according to city data

Dr. Allison Arwardy of the Chicago Public Health Department said the city is seeing an average of 287 new cases per day. While it's not at her 400 benchmark compared to other states seeing spikes, there is still concern, she said. 

"Where we have added about 100 cases per day, unfortunately, we have not shown a sign of turning that around yet," Arwady said. "The worry is if we continue to add, a month from now we would be at that 400 case mark."

She said this trend is part of why Chicago Public Schools will now be fully remote for the first quarter, combined with harsh criticism from teachers, students and parents the district received.

"(The CPS plan) allows us to move into different phases," she said, adding that its flexibility can adapt to what comes next based on the coronavirus numbers.

She said that in the next month, she hopes the city will be in a better place with cases so that in-person instruction can come back in the future.

Data shows that in Chicago, 1 in 6 people have been tested and 1 in 45 contract the virus. Arwady also pointed to recoveries: Out of the over 62,000 positive cases, over 56,300 people have recovered.

Still, the city's coronavirus increased cases are bad news. Arwady hopes the increased case numbers present a wake-up call for people in Chicago and the state as a whole.

"We are not where we need to be," she said.

As of last night, 1,517 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 346 patients were in the ICU and 132 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.