ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A fifth case of coronavirus has been identified in the state.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials announced the findings Thursday. Specimens from the man in his 20s has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.
Authorities said the man from Cook County returned from a trip to Italy earlier this month to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Authorities are identifying and contacting all close contacts.
“The state of Illinois is working around the clock to contain COVID-19 and educate the public,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Public health officials anticipated there would be additional cases and we will continue to implement robust measures to contain the virus while also preparing for further transmission. The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Illinois remains low, but we encourage the public to be vigilant and take extra care with the normal precautions you should take during flu season.”
As for the other four cases, the first presumptive test has been confirmed and health officials are waiting for results on the second case. Both are in home isolation and are reportedly doing well. Authorities said, at this time, the exposure route for the third and fourth cases is not known.
Both individuals traveled to another state, but a link to a confirmed COVID-19 case has not been made. IDPH has been unable to identify a point of exposure for the two cases. It raises the question if the cases are a result of community transmission.
“We will continue to monitor all three recently identified cases daily for the presence of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing until CDC criteria for release are met,” said Cook County Department of Public Health Chief Operating Officer Dr. Terry Mason. “With the ability to test for COVID-19 in the IDPH laboratories, we were able to get results quickly and potentially limit further spread of this virus.”
Illinois was the first state to be able to test for COVID-19 and IDPH continues to test for the virus in all three of its laboratories: Chicago, Springfield, and Carbondale. The need for testing is determined by a physician based on the patient’s symptoms and epidemiological factors including healthcare workers, those with close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or those who have traveled from affected geographic areas.
Currently, IDPH is prioritizing testing for people who meet previously defined criteria, as well as hospitals voluntarily participating in surveillance. When commercial laboratory testing is available, the capacity for more people to be tested will increase significantly.
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