Chicagoan Diagnosed with Coronavirus

January 24, 2020

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today joined state and federal health officials and other City departments to announce the first local resident with a confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health officials said the risk of the virus spreading to the general public still remains low. The patient recently returned to Chicago from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by the virus has been ongoing since December 2019.

The patient is in stable condition and remains hospitalized. Based on the information currently known about her activities since her return, there is no immediate health risk to the general public. The patient, a woman in her 60s, took the proper steps of calling ahead to her doctor before arriving at the emergency room and had no extended contact since arriving back in the U.S. She has since limited all close contacts. The general health risk from 2019-nCoV in both U.S. and Chicago is still deemed to be low at present.

“The Illinois Department of Public Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Chicago Department of Public Health, other local health departments, hospitals, clinicians, and other medical providers to proactively identify and aggressively respond to any possible cases of novel coronavirus,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Our ultimate goal is to identify and contain any illnesses to prevent the spread of disease. We understand there is a lot of interest, but there are still many unknowns with this novel virus and the situation is rapidly evolving. As we learn more, and when cases are confirmed, we will make sure to share that information.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued a press release updating its national surveillance efforts and activities.

While there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take, the CDPH always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.