Evanston reported 15 new COVID-19 cases today and one additional death as the number of tests conducted statewide reached a new peak.

The state reported 16,316 tests conducted today. That’s nearly double the average number of tests for the last week.

While the number of tests rose dramatically — so did the number of positive results — the number of patients identified with the disease. The percentage of positive results fell from 21.3% on Thursday to 16.7% today.

Today’s report brings the number of Evanston residents diagnosed with the coronavirus to 288 and the number of deaths to nine.

Chicago reported 1,039 new cases today for a total of 16,112. Statewide there were 2,724 new cases for a total of 39,658.

Chicago reported 37 more deaths for a total of 678. Statewide 107 additional deaths were reported for a total of 1,795. 

At Gov. Pritzker’s news conference this afternoon, Gabrielle Cummings, president of Highland Park Hospital, reported on NorthShore University HealthSystem’s efforts to expand Illinois’s COVID-19 testing capacity.

Gabrielle Cummings.

Cummings said the hospital system, which started preparing to do tests early this year when COVID-19 was largely confined to China, had capacity to perform 400 tests per day by mid-March and has increased that capacity to 1,200 tests per day now.

Asked about the requirement in his extended stay-at-home order that businesses turn away customers who show up without face coverings, Pritzker said, “You’re not allowed to go into a restaurant without wearing shoes,” and restaurant owners are expected to enforce that.

He said it should be perfectly acceptable for store owners to turn away people without face coverings, though he suggested that they do it politely.

It’s not just disrespectful for someone to show up without face covering, he said, they’re potentially infecting other people by not using it.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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