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Illinois health officials say COVID-19 outbreaks continue in youth sports

CHICAGO (WREX) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says there's been no progress in getting athletes back on the field due to the pandemic.

The governor addressed the topic while speaking from Chicago on Wednesday.

"We all want our kids to be able to play sports. We all want our kids attending in person at school. And we all wish that this pandemic were over. Unfortunately, until we're able to make that third wish come true, our ability to make progress on the first two is somewhat limited," the governor said. Pritzker continued, saying: "Many sports have made adjustments to keep kids safe so that they can play with a lower likelihood of transmitting the disease. Some sports, like youth football, are more difficult and offer a higher likelihood of transmission."

The governor says nearly 100 players have been quarantine and 37 have tested positive in an outbreak in Wayne County, Illinois.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says one of the big issues for youth sports coming back is testing.

"I don't know how many high school teams or grade school teams would have the ability to provide that level of testing, daily testing," said Dr. Ezike.

Gov. Pritzker says safety comes first.

"Under no circumstances will I put children and their families at risk," said Gov. Pritzker.

On Wednesday, health officials reported 1,941 new confirmed cases of the virus across the state, including 35. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 266,151 cases, including 8,367 deaths.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 52,311 specimens for a total of 4,863,138.  As of last night, 1,565 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 345 patients were in the ICU and 143 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.  

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from September 9 – September 15 is 3.7%. 

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13 WREX Newsroom

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