CHICAGO — The total number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in Illinois since the pandemic began passed the 200,000 mark Thursday, according to health officials.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 1,834 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed over the past day, bringing the statewide total to 200,427 cases and 7,696 related deaths.

Illinois ranks sixth in the nation in the total number of COVID-19 cases to date, behind more populous states like California, Texas, Florida and New York, as well as Georgia. When the state’s population is taken into account Illinois ranks far lower, coming in at about 20th in the U.S. for total cases per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.

The 7-day positivity rate for the state from August 6-12 ticked down to 4 percent, while over 46,000 new COVID-19 tests were performed over the past day, according to the IDPH. The positivity rate has remained near 4 percent since late July, while the 7-day testing average has risen to around 42,000.

Illinois’ current positivity rate ranks lower than neighboring states and is among the bottom third of all states in the U.S., data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

Only one region established in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan is above one of the state’s “warning” levels, as the western Region 2 has seen an increase in its positivity rate over seven of the past 10 days. The rate in the region, which includes Peoria at its center, was at 5.5 percent as of August 10.

The Metro East and Southern regions are also very near the state’s “failsafe” positivity rate of 8 percent, with rates of 7.9 percent and 7.5 percent respectively as of Monday.

State health officials have been raising concerns about a spread of the coronavirus disease in downstate counties in recent weeks. According to the state’s plan, additional mitigation measures like closing bars and restaurants could be put in place if any region reports a 7-day positivity rate higher than 8 percent for three consecutive days.

Additionally, data in Chicago and across the state show an increase in cases among young people in recent weeks as well. State health officials said previously many infections are spreading through large gatherings, in crowded bars and restaurants, and among household members.

Hospital resources and COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide remain within limits established by the state in the “Restore Illinois” plan, with 1,628 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 383 in intensive care and 127 on ventilators. Officials estimate 95 percent of confirmed cases have recovered.

About $46 million in emergency grants will go to thousands of Illinois businesses struggling amidst the coronavirus pandemic, state officials announced Wednesday.

The first round of grants range from $10,000 – $20,000, and may be used to help businesses with expenses like payroll, rent, and utilities, in addition to coronavirus-specific costs like PPE. Damage caused during recent unrest is also included.

Indiana health officials announced 1,046 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20 coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday, while the 7-day positivity rate there from July 31 – August 6 came in at 7.8 percent.

Counties in the southwest of the state reported the highest positivity rates, including Putnam, Sullivan, Pike and Dubois, which all reported rates above 15 percent. The highest number of cases is in Marion county, where Indianapolis is located, where the positivity rate is 8.7 percent.

In the U.S., the number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment aid fell below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic intensified five months ago, yet still remains at a high level. 

Americans counting on emergency coronavirus aid and a second $1,200 check from Washington may have to wait until fall, as negotiations over a new virus relief package have all but ended.

For many in the U.S., fear of contracting COVID-19 is outweighing the desire to take that annual planned trip, as one study found only 27 percent of Americans have taken a vacation during the pandemic.

With a coronavirus vaccine still months off, companies are rushing to test what may be the next best thing: drugs that deliver antibodies to fight the virus right away.

They could give quick, temporary immunity to people at high risk of infection, such as health workers and housemates of someone with COVID-19.