SPRINGFIELD — Another 82 people have died from complications of novel coronavirus disease in Illinois, and the state announced more than 1,529 new cases Wednesday as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said testing still lags behind public health officials' goal.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed Wednesday in Hancock County. The Hancock County Health Department and Memorial Hospital said they received notification that an individual in their 20s to 30s is at home recovering. The Health Department is conducting contact tracing to investigate possible exposures.
In Adams County, eight new confirmed cases were announced, bringing the total in the county to 19. Three of those people are hospitalized.
The Adams County Health Department said that it has seen multiple instances where COVID-19 is spreading in households.
Both cases and deaths once again saw their largest single-day spikes in the state, but Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at the daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago that the rate of increase in cases from day to day is beginning to decline.
"You're not seeing the exponential growth that we were seeing before," she said. "But even as there may be some glimmers of hope, I say that physical distancing has to — must — continue to be the way that we reduce the spread of this virus. Please stay home."
She said a decrease in the rate of rise, which now looks more linear than exponential, was promising, but she could not predict how many days the state is away from a peak in cases, which could last several days once it is hit.
"So we're, with guarded optimism, we're hoping that we're getting close to either the peak or the plateau. It's not clear yet how long that would be," she said.
The latest deaths came in 11 counties — Boone, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Macon, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair, Tazewell and Will — with 61 of them in Cook County. The deaths came in people from their 30s to their 90s.
There are now 15,078 total confirmed cases in the state in 78 counties, including 462 deaths. The state tested 75,066 persons for the virus as of Wednesday, an increase of about 6,300 from Tuesday.
Northeast Missouri cases
Within the Northeast Missouri region, Pike County has overtaken Macon County with the most COVID-19 confirmed cases. Health officials in Pike County announced Wednesday afternoon that a fifth person had tested positive for the virus.
Macon County has three cases. Clark, Ralls, Shelby and Scotland counties each have one confirmed diagnosis, but health officials say those numbers could rise as more people are tested for the virus after displaying symptoms.
Public health officials in Pike County are not releasing age, gender or area of residence for the individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Pike County Health Department, Home Health and Hospice agency administrator Rhonda Stumbaugh has previously said those details are “not relevant” to stopping the spread of the virus.
“Regardless of where the positive cases are in our county everyone needs to follow the recommendations and orders, no one is exempt from this virus if they are exposed to someone that is infected,” Stumbaugh said in a statement to The Herald-Whig. “The best way we can decrease or stop this spread is by social and physical distancing. Anyone who is keeping distance from others, regardless of town should feel confident that their risk of contracting the virus is extremely lower by staying home.”
She is encouraging the continued use of social distancing techniques until at least April 30.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the region Scotland County reported its first case of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Officials believe the Memphis, Mo., man contracted the virus while traveling. He and his wife, who has also developed symptoms, are at home in isolation.
The Shelby County resident, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, is back home after being hospitalized at Hannibal Regional Hospital. It is not believed that the patient contracted the virus while traveling.