Illinois reports 1,826 COVID-19 cases and 123 deaths in last 24 hours; statewide case total nearly 37k

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CHICAGO -- Illinois health officials on Thursday announced 1,826 new cases of the coronavirus, raising the state’s case total to 36,934.

There are also another 123 deaths from the disease in Illinois in the last 24 hours, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The state’s death toll is now 1,688 people.

The virus has been reported in at least 96 of the state's 102 counties. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

Gov. Pritzker on Tuesday said the state wouldn’t hit its highest level of COVID-19 cases until mid-May, weeks after originally projected.

The governor wouldn’t discuss the data he’s using in adjusting the projected peak date, which had been predicted for the latter part of this month. But he said people are abiding by social-distancing rules, slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

“We will be making some changes to the stay-at-home order as it is, but it is true that it is working, so to ... remove it entirely is to simply open everything back up to infection,” Pritzker said.

The governor says that across the state, there are signs of hope in the daily acts of caring.

"Those signs are all around us. Look at the creativity that people have brought to make sure that people who are in need are truly cared for," Pritzker said over the weekend, mentioning people delivering activity care packages, doing musical performances and sewing masks.

"That's the thing about Illinois. Everywhere you look there are people stepping in to fill the gaps in other people's lives," he added.

Governor Pritzker says the state has set up a way to get in touch with a mental health professional if the COVID-19 pandemic is causing you anxiety. Just text "TALK" (or "HABLAR" for Spanish assistance) to 552020. You can also text the words "UNEMPLOYMENT," "FOOD" or SHELTER" to the same number for assistance.

The state is also launching a remote care program for COVID-19 patients whose symptoms are not severe. Healthcare workers will connect digitally with patients on a daily basis. And, depending on the severity of the situation, the state might provide kits with blood pressure cuffs and thermometers.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.