Illinois Hits Highest Number of New Coronavirus Cases in a Day With 2,724

Illinois reported its highest number of new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus Friday.

"Today [the Illinois Department of Health] reports 2,724 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. This is the largest 24-hour increase we have seen to date." Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Health, announced at the governor's daily coronavirus press briefing.

"However, yesterday we also saw the greatest number of test results that were reported in a 24-hour period with over 16,000 specimens. Obviously, when you test more people you are going to find more cases," Ezike said. The health director also announced that 108 people lost their lives in the preceding 24 hours.

Illinois now has 39,658 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,795 deaths, according to the state Department of Health website. The health director reported that the 4,828 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Ezike stated in the press conference that Illinois has flattened the curve due to efforts by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the health department, and the public.

"You are doing your part as well and your part has resulted in significant strides," Ezike said in reference to the state's residents. "We have flattened the curve. We have lowered the amount of lives lost. I encourage people to remain vigilant. We will get through this. We will do that by staying at home, by wearing masks when outside, washing our hands incessantly, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces."

Pritzker announced Thursday that he would be extending the stay-at-home orders with some modifications until May 30. The modified order will begin to take effect May 1 and run through to the end of the month. Some of the modifications include allowing hospitals to once again perform elective surgeries and letting retail stores open up to take online and phone orders for pickup and delivery.

"We are also strengthening some of our public health measures in the order to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible. Starting on May 1 an individual over the age of 2 and able to medically tolerate a face covering or mask will be required to wear one when in public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance," the governor said Thursday.

"Again, all of these things won't take effect until May 1...and they are only minor modifications that we can do safely while keeping our stay-at-home restrictions in place."

The governor said at Friday's press conference that he hopes to see a downward trend in cases for 14 days before lifting his order and phasing in a reopening of the state.

"Seeing a downward movement of 14 days in a row would give us a pretty good indication that we are heading in the right direction on a consistent basis." Pritzker said.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, JANUARY 30, 2020. - Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced the first case of a person catching the virus from another person on American soil. The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the new coronavirus, as China reported on January 31 that the death toll had climbed to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections. (Photo by DEREK HENKLE / AFP) (Photo by DEREK HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images) DEREK HENKLE/Getty