- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois health officials say despite the 1,953 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 28 fatalities reported Thursday, the percentage of positive coronavirus tests is trending down, but hospitalizations are rising.

The confirmed COVID-19 cases reported is the result of 48,982 tests within the past 24 hours, resulting in a seven-day statewide positivity rate of 3.8%. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,609 people were hospitalized late Wednesday as a result of COVID-19 infection. That is up from 1,481 a month earlier. Of those hospitalized, 346 were in intensive care units and 141 were on ventilators.

“We can’t outrun this virus. It hasn’t gone away,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday in Chicago. “We can’t pretend that we can fully restore our economic vitality as long as it’s here without any way to temper or prevent it.”

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois since the pandemic began is now 255,643.

Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike again cites medical research suggesting the near universal adoption of mask wearing and hand-washing, among other measures. could halt community spread of the virus.

“What more can I tell you? How can we convince you further? Wear a mask,” Ezike said. “It’s really that simple.”

During a visit to Rockford, Pritzker announced a $16.6 million effort to connect about 1,300 people unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic with training and jobs, including temporary jobs assisting with the response to COVID-19.

Pritzker says the funds, largely from the federal government, will help the state reinvigorate its economy.

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