Pritzker: Illinois may be ‘bending the curve’ of COVID-19 infections, as state’s death toll passes 500

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CHICAGO (WGN) — Illinois health officials reported 1,344 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 66 additional deaths related to the virus Thursday, as Governor JB Pritzker says there is early evidence the state is beginning to “bend the curve” of infections.

While the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, Pritzker said they appear to be growing more slowly.

“Our rate of rise is looking less and less exponential, that indicates to us that we are in fact bending the curve, there is even some evidence that we may be moving towards a flatter curve – but we need to keep watching the data on a daily basis,” Pritzker said Thursday.

The latest statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health indicate there are total of 16,422 confirmed cases, and a total of 528 people have died from coronavirus-related causes. A total of
80,857 tests have been performed statewide.

Unemployment claims in Illinois jumped nearly 13% last week, with 201,041 new claims largely attributable to the spread of the coronavirus. The jump breaks a record set just a week earlier at 178,421.

Nationally, another 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the US Department of Labor. American workers continue to suffer from job losses, furloughs and reduced hours during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government says it expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans under a new economic stimulus law by next week.

In Indiana, state health officials said Thursday 42 more residents have died from COVID-19, marking the largest single-day jump in the state’s death toll. However, officials say the deaths occurred over multiple days. The state’s health agency also reported an additional 430 confirmed COVD-19 infections, increasing its total to 6,351 cases and 245 deaths.

According to figures obtained by WGN Investigates, Intensive Care Units in three north suburban hospitals reached their capacity late Wednesday night. Lake Forest Hospital, Vista Medical Center in Waukegan and Condell Medical Center in Libertyville were likely the first hospitals in Illinois to see ICUs fill with an influx of COVID-19 patients.

In Chicago, the first CPD officer to die from complications of COVID-19 will be remembered with a private burial service Thursday. Marco Di Franco, 50, was a 21-year veteran of the department who worked on the narcotics team.

A person who attended a birthday and a funeral in Chicago earlier this year may have left 16 people infected with coronavirus, three of whom died, according to a new study by the CDC.

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