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Illinois virus cases double in 7 weeks, deaths pass 11,000

The first 300,000 cases took 212 days. The second 300,000 cases took just 46 days, an AP analysis shows

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The number of new coronavirus infections reported in Illinois Wednesday fell below 10,000 for the first time in 13 days, but an Associated Press analysis of data shows the exponential spread of the virus during the past 12 weeks.

The review of Illinois Department of Public Health data shows the virus infected 300,000 people within the first 212 days. To double that number to the current 606,771 took just 46 days.

Hospitalizations are higher than during last spring's crisis. Gov. J.B. Pritzker again pleaded for compliance with facemask and social distancing requirements to keep hospitals from being overrun.

Illinois COVID-19 restrictions | Casinos, museums must close, most businesses must limit capacity to 25%

Illinois is preparing to enact tighter COVID-19 restrictions that'll limit the capacity at nearly every type of business across the state and shut down others.

Tier 3 mitigations will take effect starting Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday. The executive order will be in place for at least 30 days.

"Tier 3 boils down to this: if you don't need to do it, don't," Pritzker said. He added this order is not as strict as the stay-at-home order that was in place in the spring.

Under Tier 3 mitigations, retail businesses must operate at no more than 25% capacity, including small businesses and big-box retailers that offer groceries. Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at 50% capacity.

Gaming establishments and casinos must also close, under the mitigations.

Indoor service at bars and restaurants is also banned. All bar and restaurant patrons must be seated at tables outside.

Theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers must close.

Businesses that offer personal care services, like barbershops and salons, must operate with 25 clients or fewer or 25% capacity.

Health and fitness centers must operate at 25% capacity and indoor group fitness classes are not allowed. Face masks should be worn even during exercise.

Employees who can work remotely should do so.

Schools and child care centers can continue to stay open under guidelines issued by the state health department.

"The community spread is wide, so we need to have a statewide order," Pritzker said.