Illinois has an additional 673 cases of COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday. It marks the highest single-day increase yet. The state also reported seven more deaths.
Illinois has seen a total of 2,538 confirmed cases, 26 deaths and has tested 16,631 people.
Chicago has 1,161 confirmed cases. The rest of Cook County has 743. Lake County has 185, DuPage has 182, Will 77, Kane 57, McHenry 35, Kendall eight, DeKalb four, La Salle three, Grundy two and Whiteside one. In total, 37 counties have reported at least one case.
“We know that we’re in a period of exponential growth,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “We know that the numbers are going to have these giant rises. … We’re, fortunately, a little bit under the projections from the very beginning. We hope that we continue to enact measures that will help us fall under predictions.”
State officials continued to urge residents to stay at home and practice social distancing. The coronavirus does not discriminate and has infected people of all ages and ethnicities.
“Even if you happen to live in a county that does not have a case right now, you should absolutely take precautions and follow all of the same guidance, as if you knew the virus was circulating within your community – because it is,” Ezike said. “Please take the same precautions and stay home as much as possible.”
At his daily news conference, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the creation of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to raise money in support of nonprofits serving communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund has already raised about $23 million. Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the governor’s sister, will lead the fund. Founding supporters of the fund include the billionaire governor and his wife, who have contributed $2 million. JB Pritzker’s foundation contributed an additional $2 million, he said.
The fund was formed in partnership with the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations. Interested potential donors can visit ilcovidresponsefund.org.
“Even a dollar, or five dollars, can make a difference in the lives of others at this horrific time,” Penny Pritzker said.
Financial resources will go to nonprofits and community foundations supporting residents in need of emergency food, basic supplies, shelter, health care services, utility assistance and support for children and other vulnerable populations.
“I am personally blown away at the nearly limitless capacity and generosity throughout our state to care for others,” Penny Pritzker said. “That gives me hope and certitude that we will come through this crisis together and stronger.”
On the economic front, the governor said Illinois has received over 100,000 more unemployment claims than it had by this point in March 2019. JB Pritzker said that the state saw a record number of people – 17,000 – file unemployment claims on Thursday alone.
The governor’s request for a federal major disaster declaration for Illinois has been approved by the federal government. It will provide emergency funding to increase hospital and housing capacity, as well as resources to expand telehealth.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin flew to Chicago from Washington on Thursday to address the state alongside the governor. Durbin said that there were only 10 people on his flight, including three flight attendants – a stark example of how much the economy is suffering.
The Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion aid bill late Wednesday night that now moves to the House, which is expected to vote Friday. Durbin touted the bipartisan effort of lawmakers in Washington.
“We not only understand the gravity of this challenge, but the importance that we move quickly and put politics aside when it comes to the well being of the people we represent,” Durbin said.