CHICAGO (CBS) — The cleanup continued at Vaughn Occupational High School on Sunday as students and staff got tested for coronavirus.
CBS 2’s Vi Nguyen on Sunday looked into exactly what the testing is like.
On Friday, city and state officials announced that a special education classroom assistant at Vaughn, at 4355 N. Linder Ave. in the Portage Park neighborhood, had tested positive for coronavirus. The school serves high school students with special needs who are sometimes “medically fragile,” Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Dr. Janice Jackson said.
The classroom aide, who is in her 50s, had been on the Grand Princess cruise ship – but she was off the ship before it was discovered to be infecting people on it, officials said. She was back at work on Feb. 25 and was on the job until Monday of last week, officials said.
Classes have been canceled until March 18 for more than 200 students at the school. One parent told CBS 2 News her son, Johnny – who is a student at the school – was tested on Sunday.
Illinois was one of the first states to receive test kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state Department of Public Health currently has around 2,200.
We are told testing is done by nasal and oral swab, and so far, there have not been any issues with the test kits in Illinois.
“We have three IDPH laboratories in Chicago, Springfield, and Carbondale that are all able to test for the virus,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
We have learned the test takes about five hours to run, and labs can turn results around in 24 hours.
If the results come back positive, the specimens will then be sent to the CDC for another round of testing to confirm the results. Meanwhile, health officials were still in the process of reaching out to everyone at Vaughn Sunday, though that process was expected to be complete by the end of the day.
“CDPH says 4836 so right now, anyone who was at Vaughn – meaning potential contact with a confirmed case – stays home,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “Anyone who was not at Vaughn, no indication for them to stay home.”
Arwady and Ezike also announced Sunday that a seventh positive case of coronavirus had been discovered in Illinois.
The patient is a man in his 60s, who has no known ties to travel or to earlier cases – and who thus may be the first example of community spread in Chicago, officials said.
Arwady said there was no public health reason to share additional geographic details about the case, and the department would address it if there were concerns about exposure.
Five other cases of COVID-19 have also been diagnosed in the area.
Officials said the fifth patient is a Cook County resident in his 20s who flew into O’Hare International Airport earlier this month after traveling to Italy.
“The individual acquired the infection while in Italy and is hospitalized at Rush University Medical Center in isolation. Public health officials are identifying and contacting all close contacts,” Illinois health officials said in a written statement.
A fourth person was diagnosed with the virus in the Chicago area at the end of February. Illinois’ patient number four is a woman in her 70s who tested positive for COVID-19. She is now under at-home isolation and in good condition according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
She is married to patient number three. He is a man, also in his 70s, who tested positive over the weekend and is now in isolation at home after being treated Northwest Community Hospital. Illinois health officials said the third patient had traveled to states with the virus outbreak.
The two other cases were a couple who tested negative for the virus in February. The couple has been released from the hospital.
Also this weekend, officials said a woman who traveled from Italy to O’Hare International Airport, and then traveled from Chicago to St. Louis by Amtrak train Wednesday of last week, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
On its website, Amtrak said it had received a notification from St. Louis County, Missouri that a customer who has now tested positive for coronavirus traveled on Train 303 on Wednesday, March 4, using stations in both Chicago and St. Louis. It was not known Sunday night how the woman got between O’Hare and Union Station.
The customer did not have symptoms at the time, and was recovering at home as of Sunday, Amtrak said in a memo.