The Will County Health Department on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Joliet.
The Will County Health Department on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Joliet.

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Another person has died from coronavirus in Will County, and the total number of confirmed cases has reached 77.

The third person to die in Will County was a woman in her 60s, officials said Thursday.

The new numbers in Will County were released as state officials pleaded with the public to avoid congregating outside as the weather warms up.

"We have to reduce the number of people who get ill," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Statewide coronavirus cases jumped by 673 in 24 hours bringing the total to 2,538 on Thursday. Seven more people died bringing the total number of deaths to 26 in Illinois.

The total number of Will County cases is up from 50 reported as of Wednesday afternoon. At that time the second death in Will County was reported, a woman in her 50s.

The number of reported cases have begun increasing more rapidly.

"I don't think this is a surprise to anyone," said Will County Health Department spokesman Steve Brandy.

Brandy noted officials cautioned the numbers of cases would rise in part because of increased testing and also because the coronavirus would continue to spread.

"I think that's exactly what the governor predicted, and it's what the president said," Brandy said. "This is going to continue to go up."

The cases reported in the county have come from "a dozen different communities," he said. "There is no definite pattern."

Brandy did not have details beyond sex and ages of the three people who died in Will County. The first death announced March 19 was a man in his 50s.

He did not know if they had other health issues but said, "Most of these cases do have underlying conditions."

The 77 coronavirus cases in Will County include 46 females and 31 males.

During their daily update on coronavirus conditions in Illinois, Ezike and Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned people to resist the temptation to begin congregating with others outside as weather warms up.

"I urge us all not to become complacent," Ezike said. "It's the only way we're going to end this pandemic."

For more local news, visit The Herald-News at https://www.theherald-news.com.

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