CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois will be the first to do in-state testing for the coronavirus.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, once specimens are available, they’ll be taken to the Chicago IDPH lab and results should be available within 24 hours.
“The ability to do this testing will mean we will be able to detect any new cases of novel coronavirus earlier and prevent any possible spread,” said IDPH Assistant Director Evonda Thomas-Smith. “We understand there is concern about this new virus, which is why having test results back quickly can help reduce some of those concerns.”
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started to ship testing kits to U.S. and international labs. Medical professionals will be looking for those who have recently traveled as well as “exposure history” as well as symptoms, including fever.
“It’s an exciting development to be able to add this tool to our arsenal as we work to limit the spread of this virus,” said Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, who added that the tests will help the IDPH and the CDC diagnose and track those who may have been exposed in a faster, more timely manner.
“A quicker response will help alleviate concerns of those being tested as well as the general public,” Arwady said. “We continue to work very closely with federal, state, and local partners to ensure that we have a robust and coordinated public health response to emerging infectious diseases.”
There have been two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Illinois.
A couple from Chicago tested positive for the deadly virus. The two patients, a 61-year-old woman who had traveled to Wuhan, China and her husband in his 60s, were released from the hospital and allowed back home under the guidance of the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the hospital said.
The man was confirmed as the first human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. He had not traveled to China, but did go to Cleveland for work. But Ohio health officials said he did not show any symptoms when he went on a day trip in January.
The state has also set up a hotline for people who have questions about the coronavirus (800-889-3931) and an email address for anyone who wants more information DPH.SICK@illinois.gov.
People in Chicago can call a local number for their information: 312-746-4835.
Dial 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV to have all your Coronavirus questions answered. pic.twitter.com/oXmeylDUbp
— IDPH (@IDPH) February 7, 2020
The state’s health department is in the process of making testing available online in its Carbondale and Springfield laboratories.