February 14, 2020
Yesterday, the Chicago Dept. of Public Health (CDPH), the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), and the Cook County Dept. of Public Health (CCDPH) reported encouraging progress in containing the local spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and reiterated that the risk of transmission within the general public in Illinois and nationwide remains low. Public health officials gathered in Chicago’s Chinatown with representatives from the local business community to talk about the robust response from federal, state and local officials, and to remind people that special precautions are unnecessary at this time.
“We are not currently seeing a spread of this virus out in the community in Chicago - or anywhere in the United States - so people do not need to alter their plans or behavior in any way at this time. Chinatown is open for business,” said Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, Commissioner of CDPH. “We have had a total of two local confirmed cases of this novel coronavirus, in a traveler to Wuhan, China and her husband. And today we’re pleased to announce, on behalf of all local health departments across the region, that we have completed the period of monitoring family and community contacts for both of our confirmed cases without any sign of further transmission. This is a huge milestone in terms of controlling this virus locally and should help everyone in the region breathe a sigh of relief.”
Local and state health officials continue to work very closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are watching the growing number of cases in China carefully. While travel from China to the U.S. has decreased significantly since Feb. 3 when new federal guidelines went into place, local officials said it would not be surprising to see additional cases in returned travelers in the U.S.
Additional screening is already in place at airports across the nation, including in Chicago, to screen anyone arriving in the U.S. with recent travel to China. Local public health officials are monitoring the health of individuals with recent travel to China as well as health care workers who helped care for the two locally confirmed cases.
The latest update from the CDC shows 15 confirmed cases in the U.S., 347 negative cases and 81 pending results. The latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 48,548 cases in China and 505 cases outside China in 24 countries.
Residents in Illinois outside Chicago can call the state hotline with general questions about novel coronavirus at 800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@illinois.gov. The number for Chicago residents is 312-746-4835 Monday through Friday during business hours and 311 during evenings, weekends, and holidays or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources are available on IHA’s website.