Pritzker: Coronavirus risk is low in Illinois, but officials prepared

01 Mars, 2020, 01:42 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Pritzker: Coronavirus risk is low in Illinois, but officials prepared

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials announced Wednesday, Feb. 26, that the agency is working with local, state and federal health partners to take all preventive steps available to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The state's public health and emergency response agencies have been conducting simulated responses to potential outbreaks, Pritzker said.

Illinois, one of several U.S. states to have had confirmed cases of the respiratory disease, was the first state to be able to run testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is transmitted much like cold and flu viruses by person-to-person contact.

Community mitigation aims to slow the spread of a novel virus in communities using nonpharmaceutical interventions such as urging people to stay home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, frequent handwashing and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects.

In Louisville, Kentucky as many as 50 residents signed voluntary agreements with the state health department to keep track of whether they develop fever, cough or breathing problems for two weeks after they returned from China.

Those positives were in a Chicago-area woman who contracted the virus after visiting Wuhan, China, and her husband with whom she was in close quarters. Both have fully recovered.

"Our top priority is keeping Illinoisans safe and to this point IL has contained the virus to two confirmed patients, and both patients have fully recovered and returned home", Pritzker said Friday.

As of Tuesday, 59 cases have been confirmed in the us, but no one has died of the virus.

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The virus reportedly originated in China but has since spread to every continent on the globe except Antarctica.

Chicago has dispatched at least 100 public health staff to help screen travelers at O'Hare International Airport, a likely point of entry for the virus.

BJC Healthcare said its hospitals follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by screening patients with symptoms.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said officials have worked with federal authorities to screen worldwide passengers arriving at Chicago's airports.

In a statement, BJC HealthCare, which runs Belleville Memorial Hospital, said St. Clair County Health Department confirmed that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in IL. Currently, state health officials are testing for the virus at a Cook County lab.

Both of the infected people there were quarantined and received hospital care, she said.

Health officials recommend people wash their hands frequently.

Lightfoot also cautioned the public not to stigmatize individuals or businesses based on ethnicity. "Our residents should continue to enjoy the city, its neighborhoods, particularly Chinatown, and its amenities that they normally do", she said.

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