Illinois announced 2,724 additional cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 39,658.
This is the new single-day largest number of COVID-19 cases the state has reported so far. The Illinois Department of Heath also reported 108 deaths which brings the death toll to 1,795. Of the total COVID-19 cases in the state, 4,828 remain hospitalized, of which, 25 percent or 1,225 are in ICU and 58 percent or 709 on ventilators.
The state however, also reached a new highest this week. Over 16,000 specimen were tested for COVID-19 on Thursday.
“On Wednesday and Thursday, we surpassed 9,000 tests. Today we met our goal of 10,000 daily tests. In fact, we surpassed it with 16,124,” Gov. Pritzker said on Friday’s daily briefing, adding that the overall positive rate for today’s tests is about 17 percent, which is less than the cumulative average of 21 percent.
“It’s too early to say whether this is a result of expanded testing criteria versus an indicator of flattening the curve but it’s a positive sign nonetheless for everyone when more people are getting tested and there is a lower ratio of positives,” he added.
Pritzker also called the testing numbers an ‘important milestone’ that allows the state to isolate those who are infected and expand the surveillance of COVID-19 cases.
“Our ability to test and get results quickly is key to our ability to map the presence of this virus and to gradually reduce our mitigation measures and get more people back to work,” Pritzker said.
In an effort to detect an outbreak earlier and help stop the spread, the IDPH has sent testing materials to 37 different long-term care facilities since last Friday (April 17th), including both, facilities that are experiencing an outbreak as well as those who have not reported a single case of COVID-19, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said on Friday.
Gov. Pritzker also provided Illinois’s take on antibody tests, a test that can help identify the extent of spread and is being considered an important tool to determine if the pandemic has slowed enough to start the economy.
“..these tests are not quite where we need them to be to offer a true metric of immunity in Illinois,” Pritzker said, pointing out the lack of accuracy of these tests.
“First, no one yet knows the true sensitivity and specificity of these tests, that is, how accurate or inaccurate they are, ” he said, adding that the COVID-19 is a novel virus and researchers don’t know the extent to which having COVID -19 antibodies equals having immunity.
He noted the lack of answers to questions being investigated by the scientific community such as- is there a certain exposure level at which antibodies don’t protect you or if you can become immune, how long would immunity lasts.
The governor also mentioned the inaccuracy of the tests in identifying COVID-19 antibodies specifically.
“..it’s not yet confirmed that these tests are able to explicitly identify COVID – 19 antibodies versus coronavirus that causes things like the common cold,” the governor said.
“The tests must definitely identify antibodies for COVID-19 and nothing else for them to be fully effective.”