Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds a press conference on August 31, 2021, to discuss the expansion of farmer mental health initiatives across Illinois. | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he is cautiously optimistic about the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations flattening out in Illinois.

When asked about COVID-19 numbers at an event in Decatur on Tuesday, Pritzker said not to jump the gun, but it’s “great” to see numbers starting to flatten out. He also advised caution.

“We all watch the numbers very closely and when they start to flatten out, that’s always good news. Always good news.” Pritzker said.

“The fact is that I think we’ve all lived through this long enough now to not jump the gun and say, ‘oh, gosh, it’s flattened out, everything is so much better.’”

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s weekly COVID-19 reports from August 6 showed 16,742 new cases for the week.

For the weekly report from Aug. 13, there were 21,334 positive cases. For the week leading up to August 20, there were 24,682 positive cases.

Last week’s report was 25,636. The positivity rate of total tests conducted went from 5.3% the week before to 5.2% last week.

“We’ve got to really see the curve heading downward,” Pritzker said.

“But I’m very hopeful of that. But I would also encourage you to take a look at hospitalization numbers. They have been going up, though a smaller number each day,” Pritzker said.

He said that new hospitalizations have just started flattening.

“And again, I’m very hopeful, and I pray for it every day that we can head back down and fewer mitigations and everybody getting back to a more normal way of life,” Pritzker added.

The governor encouraged people to get vaccinated. “Now is the time to do it. This variant is more dangerous than any other variant we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Center Square and Lake and McHenry County Scanner both contributed to this story.