Ill. public heath experts, Gov. Pritzker to discuss state’s plan to combat Coronavirus

Ill. public heath experts, Gov. Pritzker to discuss state’s plan to combat Coronavirus
Public health experts discussed Illinois’ response to Coronavirus with Governor JB Pritzker. (Source: KFVS)

CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - Public health experts discussed Illinois’ response to Coronavirus with Governor JB Pritzker on Friday morning, Feb. 28.

The discussion was in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center at 10:45 a.m.

Watch the meeting below.

Pritzker on Coronavirus

WATCH LIVE: Ill. Gov. Pritzker to discuss state’s plan to combat Coronavirus http://bit.ly/2T7eRvd

Posted by KFVS-TV on Friday, February 28, 2020

Following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois will partner with hospitals in every region of the state to engage in voluntary testing, which will allow facilities to diagnose new cases quickly and prevent any further community spread.

Certain emergency departments will also soon begin testing select patients who have flu-like symptoms suspiciously similar to Cornonavirus or COVID-19.

Prior to this meeting, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced they were the first state to test for the virus on Feb. 11.

In addition to the in-state testing, IDPH and the Illinois Poison Center set up a hotline for residents across the state to call if they have questions about the new coronavirus.

The following are other efforts being taken in Illinois in response to the new virus:

  • Airport screening and monitoring health of travelers returning from China.
  • Investigating confirmed cases of COVID-19 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. 

In addition to efforts by local health systems, there are important steps individuals and communities can take to help minimize the risk of spreading the virus:

  • Practice everyday preventive actions such as performing frequent hand hygiene, using hand sanitizer or soap and water when visibly soiled; covering your cough and sneezes; avoiding ill people; and staying home when sick (except to seek medical care). These simple actions can prevent the spread of many illnesses, including COVID-19.  
  • Healthcare providers should continue to ask patients with fever and respiratory symptoms about their travel history. Refer to CDC’s Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for more information on screening and evaluating Persons Under Investigation.  
  • Childcare facilities, K-12 schools and colleges/universities should review their emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and online learning.  
  • Businesses and employers should actively encourage all employees to stay home when sick, perform hand hygiene, and cover coughs and sneezes. Businesses should review their emergency operations plan, including identification of essential business functions, teleworking and flexible sick leave policies. For more information see CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.  
  • Community- and faith-based organizations should review existing emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and modifying large gatherings such as concerts and festivals.

There have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois.

The first confirmed case of 2019-nCov was a Chicago woman in her 60s had who returned from Wuhan, China.

The second case was the husband of the first case. He had not traveled overseas, but interacted with his wife after her return from China.

Health officials state that the immediate health risk of the virus to the state remains low, but additional cases are likely.

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