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Illinois Suffers Worst Day Yet With 144 New Fatalities As Total Coronavirus Deaths Pass 2,000

An additional 2,219 people tested positive for COVID-19, numbers attributed in part to the rising number of tests administered.

The COVID-19 Testing Center at Innovative Express Care in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Monday, April 27, 2020. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Illinois suffered its deadliest day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as 144 people died in the past day.

At least 2,125 people have now died of coronavirus in Illinois. And 2,219 more people tested positive for COVID-19 — numbers attributed, in part, to the rising number of tests administered.

There have now been 48,102 people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois, but officials assume far more had or have undiagnosed cases. Many people have already recovered.

“People do recover,” stressed Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “The majority of individuals do recover.”

Ezike said of the people who died in the past 24 hours, 80 percent were from northern Illinois, 14 percent were from southern Illinois and 6 percent were from central Illinois.

It was the first time Ezike has provided a breakdown of where in Illinois coronavirus patients have died — and, notably, it came just a day after a judge gave a downstate lawmaker a temporary injunction blocking Pritzker’s stay at home order from impacting him.

Pritzker has urged Illinoisans not to think of coronavirus as a “Chicago problem,” as the virus has killed people in 42 counties and two of the counties with the worst infection rates are downstate.

And Pritzker and Ezike have warned Illinois has not yet reached its peak in deaths or new confirmed cases, although they’ve been optimistic the state is nearing the apex. With social distancing measures helping to “flatten” the sharp rise in cases, experts expect a plateau of cases in the near future.

After that, officials hope the state will start seeing consistent decreases in new confirmed cases and deaths — which they say is needed to start lifting restrictions like the stay at home order.

The previous one-day high for people dying from COVID-19 in Illinois was 125.

Symptoms

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:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills and shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • 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.

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