CHICAGO — People who break the state’s stay at home order — even if they are feeling healthy — will extend the coronavirus crisis by allowing the virus to continue to spread, officials warned residents.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker have urged people to continue to follow the stay at home order and practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. The current order goes through May 30, though it could be extended.
“If we don’t stay the course, we’re going to be in this longer, more people are going to get sick and more people are going to die,” Lightfoot said Monday. “We’re going to continue to be out there and bring the message. … We know we have work to do and we’re committed to doing that.”
Polls show Pritzker has the support of the majority of Illinoisans and 75 percent of people in Illinois think the state government has reacted “about right” in its handling of coronavirus.
But small yet vocal groups have sprung up, with some holding protests where they call for an end to the order or holding events, like church services, in defiance of the order.
And as the weather has warmed, more people have been out at parks or gathered outside friends’ homes, talking through windows or trying to hang out while staying 6 feet apart.
Pritzker warned people should not be expanding their “quarantine circle” just yet, noting people can have and spread coronavirus and not know or show symptoms.
“For a little while longer it’s important for people who are asymptomatic … that you stay away from people,” Pritzker said. “Just because you are asymptomatic does not mean that you do not have coronavirus. … As we await [treatments] … stay away from your elderly relatives, in particular, and don’t quarantine with people you haven’t already been around.”
Pritzker has said he wants to avoid using police to enforce the order, with the governor instead calling on people to practice social distancing even if their local officials aren’t following the order.
And Lightfoot said the city will fine people up to $5,000 if they hold events like parties.
Illinois and Chicago are still seeing a rising number of cases of coronavirus, though the pace of that growth has slowed.
Once there’s a decline in cases and deaths — as well as more testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment — the state will be able to lift and change restrictions, Pritzker has said.
Pritzker has his daily coronavirus briefing at 2:30 p.m.
• There have been 63,840 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois as of Monday afternoon. Many of those patients have recovered since testing positive. More than 4,000 remain hospitalized.
• At least 2,662 people have died in Illinois as a result of the virus.
• There have been 25,809 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chicago and at least 1,054 people have died.
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What’s Happening In Chicago
• Restaurants: The city’s eateries are urging customers to skip GrubHub and similar services and order directly from them so they can make it through the crisis.
• Help for Artists: The statewide Artist Relief Fund is again taking applications.
• Food Supply: Pop-up food pantries are coming to the South and West sides to aid people during the pandemic.
• Housing: The city created a “pledge” to put pressure on banks and landlords to keep people in their homes amid the pandemic.
• Deaths: Coronavirus has likely killed hundreds more people in Illinois than has been counted by the state, a new analysis found.
• Domestic Abuse: Survivors of domestic violence can get free hotel rooms during the pandemic.
• Masks: Everyone is now required to wear a face covering or mask when unable to social distance. And yes, stores can require you to wear a face covering if you want to shop.
• Testing: Officials are now saying anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get tested in Illinois. Before, they’d advised most people to simply stay at home and assume they had coronavirus.
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.
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