COVID-19 Update

March 19, 2020

Today, the Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced 422 cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths, for a total of four deaths. The individuals include a Will County resident in his 50s and a Cook County resident in her 80s, and an out-of-state resident in her 70s who was in Sangamon County.

"I am saddened to announce three more people in Illinois with coronavirus disease have passed away," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  "We ask everyone to please, stay home as much as possible so we can reduce the number of people who are infected and potentially suffer serious illness, including death."

There are 134 new cases of COVID-19 across Illinois. Five additional counties are now reporting cases; Jackson, Kankakee, LaSalle, Washington, and  Williamson counties.     

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Clinical Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) will hold a call on Tues., March 24 from 1-2 p.m. on Underlying Medical Conditions and People at Higher Risk for Coronavirus Disease 2019. More information including ways to access the call are available here.

CDC figures show a total of 10,442 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. in 54 states and U.S. territories, with 150 deaths.

CDC released Prepare to Care for COVID-19 yesterday. It is a new resource containing steps clinicians can take to prepare their clinic to protect patients and healthcare workers from COVID-19 (before patients arrive, when patients arrive, and after patients are assessed); outdoor and indoor signs; and a patient handout with tips for home care. It will be updated regularly to help clinicians adapt as the outbreak evolves.

Yesterday, President Trump issued an Executive Order on prioritizing and allocating health and medical resources to respond to the spread of COVID-19. Also, the President recently issued guidelines  to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On March 19, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided guidance on the prohibitions on use and disclosure of patient identifying information under 42 C.F.R. Part 2, to ensure that substance use disorder treatment services are uninterrupted during this public health emergency.

On March 16, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a COVID-19 Information Page on the Diversion Control Division website, providing guidance relating to the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, including the ability to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine without a prior in-person exam. This public health emergency exemption is an exception to the federal Ryan Haight Act’s requirement to conduct an in-person exam before prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has released a new COVID-19 tool that provides the latest state-level data on COVID-19 cases and deaths, provider capacity and the various policy actions that states have taken to combat the crisis. KFF’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker provides the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths by country, the trend in case and death counts by country, and a global map showing which countries have cases and deaths.

The latest WHO situation report shows more than 191,000 COVID-19 cases globally, with over 7,800 deaths. The Western Pacific Region has the most cases with more than 91,700 confirmed cases and more than 3,350 deaths.

See IHA’s COVID-19 webpage for a variety of resources in a central location.