New COVID-19 cases in Illinois reached their highest one day number in a month-and-a-half today with 1,598 people confirmed as having the disease, including four in Evanston.

The state now has had a total of 165,301 COVID-19 cases and 7,347 deaths, with 23 new deaths today.

Evanston now has had 844 coronavirus cases, but the death toll has remained unchanged at 71 for the past 12 days.

Chicago reported 352 new cases today for a total of 57,694 and four more deaths for a total of 2,736.

Suburban Cook County reported 308 more cases today for a total of 42,430 and nine more deaths for a total of 2,065.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker cautioned residents today that they need to keep wearing masks and practice social distancing or the state risks a return to exponential growth in COVID-19 cases. “Let’s not let that happen again,” the governor said.

The Metro East region outside of St. Louis has seen particularly high numbers with a 6.9% positive rate average in the seven days ended July 19, compared to a 3.9% rate in Chicago during the same time frame.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported test results for 39,633 people today. That’s the fourth highest number of daily test results on record.

The positive rate on those tests was 4%, raising the seven-day average positive rate to 3.2%

The IDPH reported results of 371 tests on Evanston residents, which appears to be the highest daily test count ever for the city. The high total may reflect tests conducted at a special one-day testing event Monday at Evanston Township High School.

Today’s positive rate for tests of Evanston residents was 1.4%

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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