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Illinois surpasses 10,000 tests per day, identifies 2,724 new cases; 108 deaths reported

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Illinois surpassed 10,000 coronavirus tests in a 24-hour period for the first time, a goal that Gov. JB Pritzker set in late March.

The Illinois Department of Public Health received results from 16,316 tests between Thursday and Friday.

“My expectation is that we’ll be able to maintain this level [of testing],” Pritzker said. “Of course, this isn’t enough. The idea here is that we’ve got to keep going, and we will.”

IDPH announced 2,724 new cases of COVID-19 and 108 additional deaths statewide Friday.

“Obviously, when you test more people, you’re going to find more cases,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

Illinois has now seen 39,658 positive cases of the virus. A total of 1,795 people have died throughout the state. The state has tested 189,632 people.

Newly reported deaths included 81 in Cook County. Seven people died in DuPage, five in Lake and Will, two in Kankakee and Madison, and one each in Boone, Clinton, Jefferson, McHenry, Sangamon and Whiteside counties.

The governor on Friday confirmed that grocery stores and other businesses should require customers to wear face coverings or masks when the state’s new stay-at-home order takes effect May 1. Illinois will require people over the age of 2 to wear face coverings when in public, according to the new order outlined Thursday.

In the same way that restaurants require patrons to wear shoes, businesses should be requiring face coverings, Pritzker said.

“It’s perfectly acceptable to tell people that you’re not allowed in if you’re not wearing a face mask,” Pritzker said.

He suggested people search the internet for ways to make masks out of household supplies that they likely already own. He said it could be as simple as tying a T-shirt around someone’s head.

Asked about Douglas County Sheriff Joshua Blackwell, who reportedly told lawmakers he wouldn't be enforcing the new stay-at-home order, Pritzker encouraged people to protect themselves and others.

“Whether your sheriff is enforcing it or not, you know what you need to do to keep yourself safe,” Pritzker said.

The governor also dismissed a downstate lawsuit filed against him for extending the stay-at-home order. Pritzker called it "a political maneuver" at a time when the state needn’t be worrying about politics.

As of Friday, Chicago has seen 16,112 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while the rest of Cook County has seen 11,504.

Lake County has seen 2,717 confirmed cases, DuPage 2,219, Will 2,009, Kane 962, McHenry 459, Kendall 191, Ogle 75, DeKalb 68, Whiteside 53, La Salle 42, Grundy 28, Lee 18, Bureau nine and Carroll seven.

As of late Thursday night, 4,828 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 1,225 in the ICU and 709 on ventilators.

The state now has 112 public testing sites, with at least one in all 11 IDPH regions. Tests at those locations are free. This is in addition to testing at health care providers.

The 10,000 test mark was a big one for Illinois, a goal that the governor set out for weeks ago. It took much longer to reach this milestone than what he had initially hoped. He called the challenges in the supply chain “immense.”

“More testing means we can effectively lower the infection rate,” Pritzker said. “Our ability to test and get results quickly is key to the ability to map the presence of this virus and to gradually reduce our mitigation measures and get more people back to work.”

Pritzker warned against putting too much stock in antibody tests, which could detect who has coronavirus antibodies, making them immune to the disease. Pritzker said there are too many unknowns involved with these tests.

“These tests are not quite where we need them to be to offer a true metric of immunity in Illinois,” Pritzker said. “This is not an Illinois-specific problem. As of today, there still are no antibody blood tests certifiably proven to accurately and consistently diagnose COVID-19 antibodies.”

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