CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois reported nearly 2,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday as public health officials continued warnings that there could be a reversal in the state’s progress in fighting coronavirus if things don’t change.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,953 confirmed cases, the highest since late May. Health officials also reported 21 more deaths. Overall, Illinois has tallied 188,424 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,594 deaths.
The spike is why officials with the nation’s third-largest school district, Chicago Public Schools, scrapped plans this week to offer some in-person classes and will start the school year solely with remote learning.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health, said the average number of new confirmed cases and the rate of positive tests has risen in the past month.
“We are not where we need to be,” she said Thursday.
Illinois public health officials said 41,686 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours and the seven-day average positive test rate is 4%.
The state reported over 2,500 daily cases at the end of May, though the state did top 1,900 cases on July 31.
Earlier this week, Illinois launched a $5 million advertising campaign to remind people to wear face masks to slow the spread of coronavirus.