By Jim Hagerty
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 488 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the statewide total to 3,026 with 34 deaths.
The disease is now in 40 of Illinois’ 102 counties ,including Winnebago, where there’s nine cases, the latest a person in their 80s.
As of Thursday, 507 people were tested in Winnebago County. Of those, 202 have been negative, leaving 305 tests pending.
Senior citizens and those with pre-existing conditions remain the most vulnerable to the disease. Approximately 86% of fatalities are among patients 60 and older, putting health officials on high alert across the country.
“We must continue to do all that we can to protect our older adults,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “We also must make sure there are enough medical professionals to care for those who do endure the more severe illness and attending complications.”
With more than 70% of the state’s cases are in Cook County, the number of cases there is expected to rise, making metro Chicago one of the nation’s COVID-19 hotspots. It’s not clear, however, whether the surge is solely because the disease is spreading rapidly or because more people are being tested. Regardless, hospitals across Illinois are gearing up for an influx of patients and what could be a significant strain on the health-care system.
The United States surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19 Friday. More than 1,500 people have died.