SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases in Illinois is beginning to ease, although the virus is still spreading and more deaths are being recorded each day.
“As Dr. (Ngozi) Ezike told you (Wednesday), our rate of rise is looking less and less exponential,” Pritzker said during his daily media briefing in Chicago. “That indicates to us that we are, in fact, bending the curve. There is even some evidence that we may be moving toward a flatter curve.”
Pritzker did, however, caution Illinoisans that the bend is not necessarily downward yet, and said it will still be some time before the state can begin easing restrictions in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Those comments came as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,344 new confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours and 66 additional deaths. That brings the total since the outbreak first hit Illinois to 16,422 confirmed cases and 528 deaths, although officials have said those numbers are probably understated due to a lack of widespread testing.
As of Thursday, the state reported conducting 80,857 tests.
Thursday marked the one-month anniversary of the day Pritzker declared a state of disaster for Illinois. Since then, he has ordered bars and restaurants to close for on-premises dining and drinking, ordered schools to shift to distance learning and imposed a stay-at-home order across the state.