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By Jerry Nowicki
Capitol News Illinois 

Coronavirus deaths spike by 125 to 1,072 as state announces testing changes

Midwest governors partnering to examine reopening economies

 

Last updated 4/16/2020 at 10:51pm

Gov. JB Pritzker announced changes to the state's guidance as to who can get tested for novel coronavirus disease Thursday and said state labs are ramping up testing efforts.

Illinois' recommended testing criteria will now include "all those who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms," according to the governor's office. The new guidance will apply to state-run drive-thru testing centers and will be offered to medical providers across Illinois, although those with mild symptoms are still encouraged to call a medical provider before seeking a COVID-19 test.

The news came as the state reported the largest single-day spike of 125 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total casualties to 1,072. There are also 1,140 new confirmed cases in the state, bringing the total to 25,733. The state has tested 122,589 people for the virus, an increase of 5,660 in the past 24 hours.

There are three drive-thru testing sites in the state which will now have the capacity to test 1,800 people daily, according to the governor's office, which said the state will also expand testing through its statewide network of Federally Qualified Health Centers.

Five machines obtained in partnership with Thermo Fisher are now producing "reliable results" as well, according to the governor's office, and over the next week, the state expects to substantially increase its capacity at state labs.

Pritzker and the governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky also announced they "will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region."

The governors said in a joint news release that, when it comes to reopening state economies, they will "closely examine" such factors as "sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations; enhanced ability to test and trace; sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence; and best practices for social distancing in the workplace."

"Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn't mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time," the governors wrote. "But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together."

 

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