CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have addressed the state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The governor and mayor were joined by public health experts at the James R. Thompson Center for a news conference Friday morning.
“Fear cannot guide us in this moment,” Lightfoot said. “Thoughtfulness and preparations are the rule of the day.”
“While the risk to the general public remains low, we want you to know our state and local agencies and officials are using every tool at our disposal to ensure the public's health and safety are well guarded,” Pritzker said.
The state is now expanding two additional testing labs outside Cook County in central and southern Illinois.
Also, the start of voluntary testing at select hospitals to test those who come in sick with flu like symptoms.
“We are also looking ahead,” Chicago Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said. “We know it is not possible to quarantine the whole globe and as this virus continues to spread around the world we want to be ready here.”
Earlier this month, Illinois became the first state to provide coronavirus testing in-state, allowing the Illinois Department of Public Health to produce results within 24 hours. Next week, the administration will expand testing statewide, with new testing labs in the central and southern regions to join the existing testing lab in Cook County.
The governor's office said certain emergency departments will soon begin testing patients with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus.
Illinois has had two confirmed cases of coronavirus and both individuals have made a full recovery. According to the governor's office, the immediate health risk to the state remains low.
Current efforts by state and city officials to prevent and limit the spread of the coronavirus include:
- Airport screening and monitoring health of travelers returning from China.
- Investigating confirmed cases of coronavirus and monitoring friends and family who may have been exposed.
- Planning community measures that can help limit the spread of disease, like having ill individuals stay home (including housing and transportation needs).
- Providing regular guidance to hospitals and healthcare professionals, including information on infection control, personal protective equipment (PPE) supply planning, and clinical evaluation.
- Working to expand local laboratory testing for COVID-19.
- Developing and distributing guidance for childcare facilities, schools, universities, businesses, community- and faith-based organizations, among many others.
Pritzker urges people to see a doctor if they're experiencing symptoms, especially if they traveled abroad.
Corona virus has now been found in more than 50 countries with spikes this week in Italy and Iran.
Medical experts say the best action is to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.