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Cat in Illinois tests positive for COVID-19, state reports 72 deaths Saturday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has reported 975 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 126,890, state health officials said Saturday.

The state also said a cat recently tested positive for COVID-19 while in a house with people who had also tested positive.

“This is the first animal to test positive for the virus in Illinois,” the Department of Public Health said. “There is no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted from animal to humans. However, if you are sick, you should distance yourself from pets as well as people.”

The state also reported an additional 72 people have died, bringing the number of fatalities as a result of the virus to 5,864.

Illinois began loosening restrictions aiming to limit the spread of the virus at the end of May. Chicago waited until Wednesday to follow suit.

State and local officials have encouraged people to continue following public health guidance even as tighter restrictions are lifted. That guidance includes frequent hand washing, keeping physical distance from others and wearing a face covering when it’s difficult to physically stay apart from other people.

Illinois officials announced Thursday that anyone can be tested at state-run testing sites after previously limiting those locations to people with symptoms of the virus or essential jobs that may have increased their exposure.

The Department of Public Health also encouraged anyone who participated in a large gathering, including protests, to get tested.

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