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COVID-19 Illinois Today: IL reports 1,759 new coronavirus cases, 30 deaths as Gov. JB Pritzker says state headed in wrong direction

CHICAGO (WLS) — Gov. JB Pritzker warned more sweeping COVID-19 restrictions could be on the way, as Illinois health officials reported 1,759 new cases and 30 deaths Wednesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that the state’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 186,471, including 7,573 deaths.

The deaths include:

-Carroll County: 1 male 80s
-Clark County: 1 male 60s
-Coles County: 1 female 80s
-Cook County: 1 male 40s, 3 males 60s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
-DuPage County: 2 females 80s
-Gallatin County: 1 male 70s

-Jefferson County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
-Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
-Lake County; 1 female 40s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
-LaSalle County 1 male 90s
-Rock Island County: 1 female 80s
-St. Clair County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s
-Union County: 1 female 70s

-Will County: 1 male 50s
-Winnebago County: 1 male 90s

Illinois Department of Public Health officials said they have conducted 46,668 tests in the last 24 hours. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 29-August 4 is 3.9%.

Coronavirus testing: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Illinois, Chicago area

As of Tuesday night, 1,552 patients were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 368 patients in the ICU and 129 patients on ventilators.

Pritzker held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to give an update, discussing the state’s rising number of cases and the IDES fraud scheme.

RELATED: IL unemployment IDES debit cards: Fraudsters may have used direct deposit to carry out scheme

Pritzker stressed the fight against the virus is trending in the wrong direction. Despite warnings, he said the coronavirus is only gathering momentum in young people in the 20-29 age group, and is more prevalent now downstate.

“This virus is dangerous no matter how young you are because of the long-term damage that it can cause. It’s not just a matter of how likely am I to die. Young people who survive COVID-19 report fatigue, breathing problems and heart issues,” Pritzker said.

There are 11 health regions in Illinois. Two weeks ago the positivity rate in 10 out 11 was less than 5%. Now the governor says only four regions are below that key metric. Local action is key to keeping infections at bay. And people have to understand the state’s fate is in their hands, Pritzker said.

He warned of more sweeping measures at the state level, if these negative trends continue, including reimposed bar and restaurant restrictions, perhaps on a regional basis.

Pritzker said he’d even consider pulling back on in-person learning.

“You’re tired of hearing it. I’m tired of talking about it. Believe me, I want this over as much as everyone else. But this virus is not tired. In fact, it’s gaining, trying to gain momentum,” Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

Alternate care sites that were set up earlier in the pandemic are being kept “warm.”

The governor also spent a lot of time talking about fraud in the provision of COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, and urged people who may have received unsolicited benefit cards to call or go online with the state employment security department because they’re likely victims.

Pritzker said the state is now averaging more than 41,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

But while Chicago’s beaches remain closed, some lakefront restaurants east of Lakeshore Drive can now reopen. That includes Castaways at North Avenue Beach and Reggies at 63rd Street Beach.

Health officials asked restaurant patrons to protect the health of their servers Wednesday.

“The wait staff all has to wear face coverings. When wait staff come to your table, put your face covering on as well,” Ezike said.

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