CHICAGO — The number of people being treated for coronavirus in Illinois hospitals has leveled off, with a total net increase of 73 patients in the past week, Gov. JB Pritkzer said Monday.
At the start of the day Monday, there were 4,672 people hospitalized with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infections. The number had risen steadily throughout April until the past week, when it began to level off.
On April 3, there were 3,680 patients, and by April 10 that had risen to 4,020 patients. On April 19, the number was up to 4,599.
Meanwhile, another 50 people died in the the past day, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,983.
An additional 1,980 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases rose up to 45,883.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state appears to be approaching its peak in new cases.
“We are growing so slowly and the numbers, in terms of the rate of rise, that we think we are coming upon it very shortly,” Ezike said. “We don’t know when we’re off the peak and heading down until we are, unfortunately.”
But the governor warned Illinois could see more cases and deaths if a downstate representative’s lawsuit to block his May stay at home order is successful. A judge ruled in the representative’s favor Monday, meaning cities could technically start reopening after April 30 — though Pritzker has urged them not to as his administration mounts a legal battle.
Ezike said despite the state’s gains, it’s still important for people to remain home, wear a face covering, keep 6 feet from other people and wash their hands regularly.
“We must all do our part to get back to the sense of normalcy, which could be pushed back if all of us are not working in concert,” Ezike said.
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 or difficulty breathing
- Chills and shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste and/or smell
People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion and runny nose, 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.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.