Evanston reported 18 new COVID-19 cases today for a total of 532 as the positive case rate for the Northeast Region of the state fell below 20% for the first time.

That rate now stands at 19.9% on a 14-day rolling basis — just a shade below the level that would have blocked the region from moving into Phase 3 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan if it’s maintained through May 28.

Chicago reported 1,267 new cases today for a total of 34,341 and the statewide count rose by 3,239 cases to a total of 87,937.

Evanston reported one new death today for a total of 18. Chicago reported 59 new deaths for a total of 1,552. The state total of deaths rose by 136 to a total of 3,928.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that the positive test rate for Evanston today was 20.2% up from 13.3% on Wednesday.

It says results of 94 tests were reported today for Evanston, with a total of 22,678 tests reported statewide.

At his news conference today, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said local officials who defy the state’s stay-at-home order are making their communities unsafe and could bdesubject to legal liability as a result.

He urged them to not fall prey to the rhetoric that says “this virus won’t hit me.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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