CHICAGO — Class is canceled next week at a Portage Park high school after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
In a press conference along with Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, health officials said that the state’s sixth case of novel coronavirus is a Chicago woman in her 50s employed at Vaughn Occupational High School.
An official with the Illinois Department of Health said the woman was one of the people aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship that disembarked on Feb. 21. She returned home to Chicago a few days later. On March 4, the ship made an announcement that there were initial cases of coronavirus associated with the cruise ship. There are now over 20 cases confirmed.
When the woman came back to Chicago, she returned to work at the high school.
The woman, who is a special education classroom assistant, is currently hospitalized and is stable, health officials said. The woman tested presumptive positive for the virus, meaning she tested positive using the test Illinois uses. The results will now be sent to the CDC for official confirmation.
Officials are now beginning the process of individually interviewing children and parents who may have been exposed, the governor said.
Officials will be looking for potential symptoms in students moving forward.
“Over the coming days we will be assessing students for symptoms and closely monitoring any underlying medical conditions they may have,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady. “We have been responding to COVID-19 for weeks and have a robust public health process in place with our many federal, state and local partners.”
The fifth person diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state was released from Rush University Medical Center Friday afternoon continue recovering at home.
Edward Campbell, 21, tested positive Wednesday and has been in isolation at the medical center. He reportedly has been released from the center to continue recovery under a home quarantine on Friday.
Campbell is from La Grange Park and is a student at Vanderbilt University. He was studying in Florence, Italy when when the school called him and his classmates back to the United States.
He flew home Tuesday and when arrived he told his parents something wasn’t right.
“I walked in my front door told my parents, ‘I have this weird feeling,” he said. “I was with people who were sick. … I told him my parents I wanted to get tested. So we came down to Rush Wednesday morning.”
State health officials are retracing Campbell’s steps back to the U.S. to contact those who may have been in contact with him.
Rush has been working closely with public health officials and determined Campbell was able to continue recovering at home under quarantine. He is reportedly still showing symptoms but no longer requires hospitalization.
“The safety and care of our patients, staff, students and the entire community is our top priority,” said Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO of Rush University Medical Center. “Rush is built for this —treating affected patients in complete isolation without compromising the safety and well-being of anyone receiving care at Rush. Being able to have coronavirus patients safely recover in quarantine outside of the clinical setting will help us reduce spread and protect the public.”
For local updates about the outbreak of COVID-19, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.