(The Center Square) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday three more COVID-19-related deaths amid the spread of the pandemic.
The deaths included a Will County resident in his 50s, a Cook County resident in her 80s, and a woman in her 70s visiting from Florida, Illinois Department of Health officials said.
Additionally, officials reported 134 new cases of the coronavirus across the state. Gov. J.B. Pritzker attributed the increase to more testing.
“We were at about 200 tests per day in the beginning. We are now at about 1,000 tests per day,” Pritzker said at a news conference.
Statewide, 422 confirmed cases in 22 counties have been reported in Illinois. Four deaths have been reported.
The governor also announced several measures to help bars and restaurants, whose doors have been closed to dine-in service since March 17.
Pritzker said he directed the Illinois Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized establishments.
Pritzker also announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Eligible businesses can now apply for up to $2 million dollars in low interest loans.
Worldwide, 230,055 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and 9,358 have died as of noon Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.