Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 715 new cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus — and 16 additional deaths, making 7,695 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 157 deaths total.
Around 85 percent of deaths are in individuals aged 60 years and older, but contracting the disease is “not a death sentence,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the IDPH. According to data from an IDPH survey of people who tested positive for COVID-19, 50 percent reported recovering after seven days.
Ezike said there have been clusters of cases in essential businesses and called on them to take steps to protect employees and customers, including checking employee temperatures daily. She also called for all religious organizations to move services online and obey Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
“I understand the importance of communing fellow believers,” Ezike said. “[But] we all must make the sacrifice.”
Prtizker also announced four alternative care sites designed to help reduce the strain on Illinois hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. McCormick Place (2301 S. King Drive) — a convention center located in Chicago’s Near South Side — is being repurposed to house 3,000 beds for COVID-19 patients. Pritzker said construction and refurbishment of sites will be completed this month.