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COVID-19 cases in Illinois increase amid reopening, ‘quarantine fatigue’

Barber Ronnie Rivas sits alone in his barbershop Friday, June 26, 2020, in Chicago’s financial district.

(The Center Square) – The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois is increasing as the state reopens, more people return to work and quarantine fatigue sets in – a confluence of events that has led some public health officials to remind people about the importance of personal responsibility.

The increase in Illinois is not like the resurgence that some other states have reported. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for three consecutive days at the end of last week. State public health officials said Monday that the seven-day positivity rate for positive cases as a percent of total tests from July 6 to July 12 was 3.0 percent.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently tweeted out a reminder about the need for people to maintain vigilance.

“We remain concerned that cases are rising and positivity rates are inching up,” he said. “Now more than ever, we must rely on what the science is telling us. Wearing a face covering is an effective tool in the fight against #covid19.”

Others blame “COVID fatigue” for the uptick.

“I went to a fish fry in Springfield and I’m the only person in the entire restaurant, including the servers, I’m the only person that had a mask,” said Tom Hughes, director of the Illinois Public Health Association. “It was so uncomfortable.”

Hughes warned that a significant rise in cases could put increase the number of hospitalizations, which could slow the state’s reopening or move it backward on Pritzker’s five-phase reopening plan. Illinois moved into Phase 4 of the governor’s reopening plan in late June.

While the state’s case count is rising, other metrics remain relatively flat.

The seven-day trend in hospitalizations remains lower than it had been last month, at 1,342 as of July 11.

On Monday, the state reported 883 new cases.

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