Illinois reports 1,773 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths as positivity rate in Metro East remains above state limit

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CHICAGO — Health officials said 1,773 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed in Illinois over the past day Monday.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 7-day positivity rate from August 10-16 rose slightly to 4.2 percent, and has been near 4 percent since late July.

The IDPH also reported 38,246 new COVID-19 tests have been conducted over the past 24 hours, below the 7-day average of about 43,000. The number of cases reported Monday is near the 7-day average of about 1,700, where it has been since the beginning of August.

Hospitalizations and hospital resources statewide remain within the state’s guidelines, with 1,544 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 340 in intensive care and 126 on ventilators.

On Sunday, health officials announced new restrictions will be put in place in the Metro East region outside St. Louis starting Tuesday after the positivity rate there rose above 8 percent for three consecutive days.

Guidelines in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan say new mitigation measures will be put in place if the positivity rate in any region rises above 8 percent for three days in a row. As of August 14, the positivity rate in the Metro East region remains above that limit at 8.9 percent.

Restrictions including limits on restaurant capacity and group sizes will be put in place in the region starting Tuesday. The state said they could be lifted if the 14-day average of the positivity rate drops below 8 percent.

One other region reached one of the state’s “warning” levels as of Friday, with the West-Central region reporting increases in its positivity rate over seven of the past 10 days.

However, the latest positivity rate in that region of 6.2 percent is below the point where mitigation measures could be put in place, and the number of hospitalizations there are within the state’s guidelines as well.

After months of frustration over testing shortages and delays, a new saliva test could give Americans a fast and inexpensive option to learn if they have COVID-19.

Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health created the SalivaDirect test, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

The Internal Revenue Service also announced Friday it would reopen the registration period for federal beneficiaries who did not receive the $500 per child payment earlier this year.

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