Illinois has now surpassed 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 700 fatalities from the disease, the state Department of Public Health reported on Sunday.

The 1,672 new cases reported Sunday is the highest in a single day, but that's largely due to an increase in testing. The state conducted 7,956 tests in the past 24 hours, which is the highest in a day so far. It is also halfway between the 6,000 tests-per-day average and Gov. JB Pritzker's goal to reach 10,000 tests each day. The governor had hoped to hit the 10,000 per day mark by the end of last week. A total 100,735 tests have been performed in Illinois.

There were 43 deaths from the virus reported Sunday, the lowest number since April 6. Also, the percentage of people testing positive for the disease is the roughly the same as it has been for two weeks, Pritzker said. He sees both figures as evidence that the state may be "flattening the curve," the term health officials use to describe the goal of reducing the number of new cases and slowing the spread of the virus so as not to overburden health systems.

"I pray, as we move forward, that these trends continue," Pritzker said Sunday during his daily news briefing from the Thompson Center in Chicago. "If they do, it will be because of all of you adhering to our stay-at-home order."

That order has been in effect since March 21 and will continue at least through the end of the month.

There are now a total 20,852 positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois, "which includes many individuals who have already recovered," Pritzker said. There have been 720 deaths. Positive cases of the virus have been found in 86 of the 102 counties in Illinois.

Tracking the curve

Pritzker's daily news briefing was shorter than most because of the Easter holiday, but he said he felt it was important to provide the daily update because "the virus doesn't take a day off and it's important for all of you to have the facts."

Pritzker appeared Sunday without Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who had spoken at daily news conferences with him often along with other public officials. Pritzker delivered the address himself, with a sign-language interpreter on Sunday, and said Ezike and other public officials would be back on Monday.

He thanked Tim Cook and Apple for delivering 100,000 N95 masks for health care workers in the state. He also encouraged people to take their time at home to fill out the U.S. Census. That can be done online at

"The more of you who fill out your census form online the more money comes to Illinois from the federal government to support you, and the more representation we get in Washington, D.C.," the governor said.

Kevin Haas:; @KevinMHaas