CHICAGO — Illinois surpassed its goal of testing at least 10,000 people per day for coronavirus for the second day in a row.
More than 11,000 people were tested in the past 24 hours, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The tests showed 2,119 more people have confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 41,777.
Gov. JB Pritzker has said widespread testing is one of the things Illinois will need to lift the stay at home order.
We’re still not there yet, he’s said in recent days, but consistently hitting the goal of at least 10,000 tests per day helps. And Pritzker, who is asked daily about when he’ll lift the recently extended stay at home order, again said it’s too early to know.
“… Those answers just aren’t clear yet. I know that everybody would like a definitive answer; believe me, I wish I had one,” Pritzker said. “But I’m working very hard to try to move us forward with testing and contact tracing so that we can begin to open things up.
“We are still climbing this peak and we’re still kind of not only climbing but, as the curve has bent, it is flattening, so I don’t know whether there will be any prolonged period of plateau. I hope we’re able to simply peak and start going down again. But all of that is something we’re gonna have to wait and see.”
Pritzker has emphasized Illinois is still seeing a growing number of cases and deaths from coronavirus, though the growth has slowed. In fact, officials are now scaling back plans for McCormick Place because the slower growth of coronavirus means not as many beds might be needed at the field hospital.
Still, another 80 people died in the past day from COVID-19 infections, Ezike said. There have now been at least 1,874 people lost in Illinois to the pandemic.
As of midnight, 4,699 people were hospitalized with coronavirus, Ezike said. A quarter, or 1,244 patients, were in the ICU. Of those in the ICU, 763 were on ventilators, she said.
On Friday, Pritkzer announced Illinois surpassed its 10,000 test goal for the first time, with 16,124 tests carried out in a 24-hour period.
Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.
Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People with no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.
The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The most common symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, according to Harvard Medical School.
If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, get immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.
How To Protect Yourself
Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:
- The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
- Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you have to sneeze or cough with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.
What To Do If You Think You’re Sick
Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.
If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where COVID-19 is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been ordered to stay home or risk getting a $500 fine.
Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.
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