The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,388 new coronavirus cases and 147 new fatalities Wednesday. This brings statewide totals to 100,418 known cases and 4,525 known fatalities. 

Illinois laboratories produced 21,029 tests over the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide testing total to 642,713 conducted tests since the beginning of the outbreak. 

IDPH is also reporting that 3,914 individuals are in the hospital with the virus. Of those, 1,005 are reported to be in intensive care units and 554 individuals are reported to be on ventilators. 

“We are seeing a decrease in the numbers of people hospitalized in the numbers of people in the [intensive care unit] and the numbers of individuals on a ventilator associated with COVID-19,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. 

As over 100,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported, Ezike announced that the hospitalizations have been “the lowest number since we were capturing these numbers that we have for COVID patients in the hospital.”

With this announcement, Ezike highlighted in Wednesday’s briefing how important and thankful she is for the health officials who have helped to fight COVID-19. 

“I’m grateful for both our state health department staff and our local health department staff who show up every day or work virtually every day all through the week [and] all times of the night,” Ezike said.

“They’re spent and they might be tired, but they’re continuing to offer what they have in order to save lives.”

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday that he will allow bars and restaurants to open for outdoor seating only in phase three on May 29 when Illinois is expected to transition into this next phase for reopening businesses. 

This comes after lawmakers returned to Springfield on Wednesdays and Republicans continued to share their opposition to Pritzker's reopening plans.

The governor also withdrew his emergency rule that put businesses at risk for receiving a misdemeanor if they violated his stay-at-home order. 

“We have to put public health first, and that means the safety of consumers and employees alike, but the epidemiologists now believe that summer offers us an opportunity,” Pritzker said. 

“Today, I’m announcing an additional option for bars and restaurants interested in resuming operations early, opening for outdoor seating when phase three begins likely for everyone just nine days from now.”

Pritzker’s reopening plan previously wouldn’t allow bars and restaurants to open dine-in service until the fourth phase in which the state's regions would not hit until late June.

This decision was made as Pritzker stated that he reconsidered the previous plan after speaking with individuals in the bar and restaurant industry.

The governor also stated in his briefing Wednesday that camping and boating in groups of 10 or fewer and indoor and outdoor tennis courts will be allowed in phase three. 

Concession stands will be permitted to reopen under state guidelines in the third phase. Foursomes will be available at golf courses and golf carts would be authorized with a limit of one golfer per cart in the third phase. 

KELLIE FOY is News Editor for The Vidette. She can be contacted at  Follow her on Twitter at @kellie_foy 

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