Illinois First State to Test for Coronavirus

February 12, 2020

The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced Tuesday that it is able to conduct testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus (now named “COVID-19”), making Illinois the first state to be able to do testing in state.

"The ability to do this testing will mean we will be able to detect any new cases of novel coronavirus earlier and prevent any possible spread," said IDPH Assistant Director Evonda Thomas-Smith. "We understand there is concern about this new virus, which is why having test results back quickly can help reduce some of those concerns."

Once specimens from individuals are received at the Chicago IDPH laboratory, test results are typically available within 24 hours. IDPH is in the process of bringing testing for COVID-19 on line in its Springfield and Carbondale laboratories.

"It's an exciting development to be able to add this tool to our arsenal as we work to limit the spread of this virus," said Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Public Health. "A quicker response will help alleviate concerns of those being tested as well as the general public. We continue to work very closely with federal, state, and local partners to ensure that we have a robust and coordinated public health response to emerging infectious diseases."

Last Friday, IDPH along with the Illinois Poison Center established a hotline for residents to call if they have questions about the new coronavirus. Residents in Illinois outside Chicago can call the hotline at 800-889-3931 or email The number for Chicago residents is 312-746-4835 Monday through Friday during business hours and 311 during evenings, weekends and holidays, or email

Currently in Illinois, two residents have tested positive for COVID-19, while 46 test results have come back negative. More information about novel coronavirus can be found on the IDPH website.