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Closures, Quarantines: Officials Aim to Halt Spread of COVID-19

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
WTTW News
by Alexandra Sileta

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there have been 105 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state across 15 counties.

The U.S. outbreak could last until July or August in the U.S., President Donald Trump said Monday.

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has closed restaurants and bars for dine-in business. Schools across the state are shuttered. Some hospitals are even postponing elective surgeries.

“We must do everything we can to safeguard the health and safety of the citizens of Illinois and that requires urgent action,” Pritzker said Sunday at a press conference. “This is not a joke. No one is immune to this and you have an obligation to act in the best interest of all the people of this state.”

On Monday, Trump and the coronavirus task force recommended limiting gatherings to 10 people and, in places where there is community transmission, closing gyms, schools, bars, restaurants and other gathering places for the next 15 days. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that gatherings should not exceed 50 people for the next eight weeks.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now,” Trump said, “we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”

According to the New York Times, there is a recording of Trump telling governors Monday they need to find medical equipment without the help of the federal government. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Trump reportedly said.

According to the CDC, people who have COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

“Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19,” according to the CDC’s website.

People who are most at risk include the elderly and those who have heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, lung disease, asthma, cancer, or a suppressed immune system.

Immunocompromised people need to quarantine themselves, said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, medical director of infection control and an infectious disease physician at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. She recommends family members with any of these underlying conditions to quarantine themselves also.

According to reports, healthy people who are asymptomatic may still carry COVID-19 and could be driving some of the community transmission.

Bleasdale, who is also an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the UIC College of Medicine, recommends social distancing, washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds, disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched such as door handles, cellphones and keyboards, and restricting non-essential travel.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued an executive order Monday mandating social distancing for a reduced Cook County workforce that is still required to work on site.

“We are facing this immense challenge with swift and strong preventative measures. By reducing foot traffic in the County Building and reducing the number of people in all our County facilities, we are taking decisive and dramatic steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Preckwinkle said.


More on this story

Get updates on statewide cases of COVID-19 from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The IDPH is also offering a hotline (800-889-3931) and email: dph.sick@illinois.gov.

The city of Chicago also has a coronavirus hotline (312-746-4835) and email: coronavirus@chicago.gov. Sign up for COVID-19 updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health.


 

 

 

 



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