A Will County man in his 50s, a Cook County woman in her 80s and a Florida resident who was visiting Sangamon County have died. The deaths bring Illinois’ total of new coronavirus fatalities to four.
The number of Illinois coronavirus cases stood at 422 as of Thursday, with patients in 22 counties. Illinois’ first coronavirus fatality came Tuesday when a retired nurse in her 60s who had asthma died from the illness.
“Unfortunately, we do anticipate additional deaths,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
As for whether he is considering a statewide shelter-in-place order, “I’m looking at all of these things literally every day, contemplating what the moves that we need to take based on the guidance given” by state and federal health authorities, Pritzker said.
If that happens, “Essential services will not close,” the governor said, including healthcare facilities and first responder services.
Pritzker said Illinois tested 1,000 people for coronavirus yesterday and expects to soon increase testing capacity to 2,000 per day. “The tests are only discovering people who already have the virus,” he said.
The National Guard “will be working to support efforts to set up mobile testing units,” along with planning for the weeks and months ahead, including expanding the state’s healthcare capacity by refitting and potentially reopening closed hospitals.
“We have to flatten the curve,” Pritzker said. “We are working day and night considering every option.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Kwame Raoul vowed to crack down on instances of price gouging, saying his office has received more than 100 complaints involving items such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and sprays and face masks.
In suburban Cook County, the coronavirus outbreak resulted in what a woman believes was a nasty prank. A shopper at a Jewel-Osco store said a man approached her in the parking lot Wednesday night, telling her to “call the CDC” and saying he “might have coronavirus” before rubbing his hands on her face and arm.
Malls and stores continue to shut down, as towns rally around businesses by starting up Facebook pages listing carryout offers and deals from local restaurants. One suburb is temporarily allowing beer and wine sales with to-go orders.
Wednesday night, Oak Park became the first Illinois town to issue a shelter-in-place order.
And a nursing home in Willowbrook said confirmed cases of coronavirus at the facility have jumped from 22 to 46 since Tuesday.
Nationwide, there have been almost 11,300 confirmed coronavirus cases and 157 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.
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Here’s what’s happening with coronavirus in Illinois:
The malls plan to be closed until at least March 30.
Amid a massive spike in applications for unemployment benefits, eligible workers can now apply immediately thanks to a new executive order.
According to Red Cross, blood donations are facing a serious shortage.
Abbott is ramping up production in an effort to provide 1 million tests a week to hospitals and labs by the end of the month.
The first case at the nursing home was confirmed Saturday.
Two emergency room doctors at RUSH Oak Park Hospital have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to media reports. The news comes a day after Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley issued a public order that requires residents to shelter in place starting on Friday.
State, national coronavirus numbers
- Total number of presumptive coronavirus cases: 422
- 22 counties
- People tested: 3,151
- Deaths: 4
- Total number of coronavirus cases: 11,274
- Deaths: 157
- Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)
While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally recommends taking these actions to prevent the spread of viruses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Call head if you’re planning to visit your doctor: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed
Stay home unless you must see a doctor:
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
- Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
- Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home:
- Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Avoid sharing personal household items
- Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
- Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it. A face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of face masks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).