- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois approached 12,000 deaths from COVID-19 with the addition of 131 new fatalities reported Thursday, state health officials said.

The 131 newly reported deaths gave the state to 11,963 deaths amid the ongoing pandemic, they said.

The state also has 12,022 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of known infections in Illinois to 697,489, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

Department Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the first sign of a post-Thanksgiving wave of coronavirus infections would arise in cases within the next week or two. That could be followed by a new surge in hospitalizations and deaths, she said.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate dropped slightly, falling to 10.3% from 10.6% the day before. Thursday’s decline marked the seventh day in which the positivity rate had fallen in the last nine days, after rising rapidly over the past month.

The state continued to experience large numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations: 6,032 patients in Illinois hospitals, with 1,224 of those patients in intensive care unit beds and 724 on ventilators.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker had said recent statistics offered a “glimmer of hope” in the state’s battle to slow the spread of the virus.

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