CHICAGO - Almost 20,000 people in Illinois have been tested for coronavirus in the past 24 hours, which was the most tests conducted in a single 24 hour period in Illinois ever. Increased testing is key to re-opening state businesses, the governor has said.
In the period ending Sunday, May 3, 19,417 tests were conducted. On Saturday, 15,208 tests were done.
"Just a few weeks ago, we were at four or five thousand. Many other places were choosing not to test. If it's not a confirmed case, it doesn't get counted. I would ignore the gross testing numbers and look at he positivity rate. That is the number that ought to be going down. For us, that has varied from 15 to 20 percent. We want that to go down," Gov. JB Pritzker said.
Officials said that 61,499 positive coronavirus tests have been reported in the state of Illinois as of Sunday. Of those, 2,618 people have died, 1,232 are currently in the ICU, 759 of those ICU patients are on ventilators.
Chicago police broke up more parties on Saturday night, and Pritzker continued to urge people to follow social distancing guidelines and stay home.
"The fact is that people need to fllow the rules. People will get sick if they don't follow the rules. There's no other way for us to do it. We need the public to comply. Those who don't comply need to be reminded. We are not looking to have police crack down and arrest people," Pritzker said of the parties.
Pritzker also said he understands people are frustrated by the two person per boat rule as the weather gets nicer, but that scientists say it's not safe for many people to be crowded together without the possibility of social distancing.
"Look, it's the data that tells us if you are in a large group of people in a small space, then you shouldn't be together in that space," said Pritzker. "Most boats people can afford don't give room for more than two people."
The governor said he has worked out a deal with some major banks to allow non-customers to cash stimulus checks for free: Wells Fargo, Chase, US Bank, 5/3 and First Midwest Bank.
"Many will receive paper stimulus checks. I want everyone receiving a check to get its full value," Pritzker said.
The state also warned of scams: counterfeit COVID product offers, fake tests, solicitiations for phony charities and fradulent efforts to obtain relief funds.
"Reprehensible bad actors are using this public emergency to prey on others. You will be caught and you will be prosecuted," Pritzker said.