CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite only two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced expanded testing efforts throughout the state and a coordinated plan to make sure anyone who may have the symptoms can be treated accordingly.
Surrounded by state and local healthcare experts, the governor and mayor said that preparedness efforts are in place.
“Our top priority is keeping Illinoisans safe and we are using every tool and resource at our disposal to prepare for this virus and contain any spread,” said Pritzker. “This is a coordinated effort with state, city and local entities working together to put the full weight of our government behind this response.”
He added that people could engage in preventative measures similar to the way a person can respond to the flu. Continued handwashing, covering your mouth while coughing, to stay home if you are ill and see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.
Both Pritzker and Lightfoot stressed that the risk of exposure remains low but public health agencies are prepared to help anyone with symptoms that could lead to the coronavirus.
“For over a month, Chicago has been working daily to strengthen and refine our response to this situation, contain the virus, and protect our residents from any harm,” said Lightfoot. “We will continue to closely monitor this situation as it evolves, and take appropriate preventive and precautionary measures as needed in coordination with public health agencies, and our many community and healthcare partners.”
Lightfoot added: I have personally engaged with mayors from all over us to make sure we understanding what’s happening to make sure we have a nationwide response for our residents.
When asked by CBS 2 about what plans are in place to help schools and students, including the expansion of e-learning days.
Lightfoot did not address specifics for CPS but said there are general guideline in place.
“I really don’t want to deal in hypotheticals. I think the takeaway from today is number one, the risk is low, the level of preparedness is very high and in the event that we need to scale-up our efforts, we are uniquely qualified to do so.”
She added, “we are stepping up the surveillance that’s happening, not only Chicago but Cook County and across the state in the event that we see something that warrants action, we are well prepared to do it.”
Lightfoot noted that the different healthcare agencies throughout the state are in constant communication regarding coronavirus. Some of the precautionary measures in place include:
- 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.
Along with testing labs in Chicago, Carbondale and Springfield, the state plans to add more testing centers for more people to access services if they’re experiencing symptoms.
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