The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Champaign County climbed to 236 Thursday — up 19 from Wednesday.

The new cases include three employees of Rantoul Foods, the site of a coronavirus outbreak. In all, 52 cases are now linked to the hog processing plant.

Of the county’s 236 cases, 123 have recovered and 107 are considered active, according to the C-U Public Health District. Six patients are hospitalized, and six county residents have died.

 State surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 deaths

By JERRY NOWICKI

Capitol News Illinois

jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois surpassed 3,000 deaths related to the novel coronavirus Thursday, the 60th straight day Gov. JB Pritzker has hosted a daily briefing on the pandemic.

Pritzker announced Thursday that the briefings will no longer take place on weekends, just Monday through Friday.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced 138 more virus-linked deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,111 in Illinois. There are now 70,873 confirmed cases, an increase of 2,641 from Wednesday.

There were 17,783 test results reported in the last 24 hours, meaning the positivity rate for those tested in that span was about 15 percent. A total of 379,043 tests have been conducted thus far, about 3 percent of the state’s population.

Ezike said 4,862 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of midnight, with 1,253 of them in intensive care unit beds and 766 on ventilators.

With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, Ezike said it is still important to observe social distancing.

“Please let’s honor our elderly mothers and our grandmothers this Mother’s Day by keeping them safe,” she said. “To do that, please stay at home. Please wear your face coverings. Please wash your hands frequently.”

Pritzker also announced Thursday that more than 1 million unemployment claims have been filed in Illinois since March 1.

“This historic number of claims has also led to historic levels of benefits being paid out,” Pritzker said. “In the first four months of 2020, Illinois has paid out over $2 billion in claims. That’s $500 million more than what was paid out in all 12 months of 2019.”