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108 more Illinois coronavirus deaths, 7,873 new cases

The coronavirus has killed an additional 108 Illinois residents and spread to 7,873 more, public health officials announced Saturday.

The daily caseload was among the state’s lowest during a resurgent month of November, but that’s mostly because a relatively low number of COVID-19 tests are being processed by Illinois laboratories over the holiday weekend.

The new infections were detected among 79,055 tests, holding the state’s average positivity rate over the last week at 10.1%, as low as it’s been in three weeks.

But the latest deaths attributed to the virus were logged at a rate that’s risen to a troubling average for the state following a drastic rise in outbreaks this fall. The virus has claimed about 106 lives per day over the last two weeks — almost three times the rate this time last month.

The latest victims included 75 Cook County residents, including a woman in her 30s.

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Over the past eight months, COVID-19 has killed 12,137 Illinoisans. Nearly 713,000 people have tested positive over that period.

With 5,775 coronavirus patients hospitalized across the state as of Friday night, the death toll is sure to keep rising.

That number fell by 54 from the previous night, and it’s been falling for five straight days after reaching an all-time high last weekend. But it still means more hospital beds are being taken up by COVID-19 patients than at any point during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.

Of those currently hospitalized, 1,211 patients needed intensive care and 686 were using ventilators.

Chicago’s regional positivity rate fell to 12%. Combined with improving hospital metrics, the city would be eligible to shed some of the business restrictions imposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker if the rate falls below 12% for three consecutive days.

Still, health officials are bracing for a potential spike in cases due to outbreaks from Thanksgiving family gatherings. Such increases could begin appearing in the data as early as next week, experts say.

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