SPRINGFIELD – Health officials said 128 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across Illinois Wednesday, including in two counties with no previously reported cases, bringing the state total up to 288 cases across 17 counties.
“This virus knows no boundaries,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said. “Make no mistake: no person and no place is immune from COVID-19.”
Among the new cases are 20 additional people connected to an outbreak of the virus at a nursing home in DuPage County, bringing the total number of infected there to 30 residents and 12 staff.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the outbreak shows why health care workers need to be taken care of and access to nursing homes has been restricted.
“It seems so harsh but we have to keep visitors out,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
WATCH ABOVE: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and state health officials give the latest update on the spread of coronavirus in the state, and measures taken to prevent it
New cases have also been found in Kendall and Madison counties, which did not have any previous confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the IDPH. The number of confirmed cases in Cook County increased from 107 to 178.
Ezike said anyone who becomes sick, even with a mild illness, should “assume they have COVID-19” and stay home in self-quarantine until they recover.
“The grim truth is that these numbers will continue to grow significantly, as likely will the unfortunate statistic of fatalities,” Ezike said. “It will take every single person in our community to break this cycle.”
While the state took measures to prevent the spread of the virus including closing schools and barring patrons from entering bars and restaurants, Pritzker said essential services will “always remain available.” He said grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will not be shut down.
The State of Illinois also launched a new online hub where residents can find the latest updates on measures being taken by the government and the spread of the coronavirus across the state. That includes answers for frequently asked questions, and information on extended unemployment eligibility, utility shutoffs and healthcare assistance.
State officials also reiterated their basic advice at this time: stay home. They say practicing social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the virus, and anyone can contact their local health agency with concerns about new cases.