CHICAGO — Illinois continued to ramp up its coronavirus testing, with over 20,000 tests administered in the past day.
It was the highest number of tests administered in a single day yet.
In the last day, another 2,887 people tested positive for coronavirus. There have now been 73,260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In addition, another 130 people died, bringing the state’s total to 3,241.
Gov. JB Pritzker set a goal early in the pandemic to have 10,000 tests administered each day. And while he called the ramp-up to the 20,000 mark “tremendous,” he said even more are needed each day.
“We know it’s not enough to be where we need to be on a longer timeframe,” he said. “I’m committed to continuing our successes because it is fundamental to our economic future and to keeping Illinoisans safe while COVID-19 is still out there.”
There are now 244 public testing sites across the state, more than double than the amount on April 24, Pritzker said. Illinois plans to open three more state-run testing sites next week, but Pritzker did not reveal the locations.
Pritzker, who unveiled his five-phase plan for reopening Illinois earlier this week, also provided more details about how Illinois could reopen in the weeks and months to come.
Pritzker said businesses where employees rely on mass transit — like in Chicago and the suburbs — might need to use “staggered work hours” as they reopen so trains and buses aren’t unsafely crowded. And officials will need to ensure mass transit is clean so people feel comfortable using it, he said.
The governor also said he’d like to see schools reopen this fall and officials will need to plan for that, though “none of us knows exactly what the future holds.”
Professional sports teams are working out how they can return to play, though that’d likely be without fans for some time, Pritzker said. He’s waiting on leagues and owners of Illinois teams to present him with plans.
And Pritzker suggested some areas of the state might be able to host small gatherings by the Fourth of July, meaning there could be fireworks shows with 50 people or fewer. But “there’s no guarantee of that,” he said.
But much of the future is still uncertain and depends on how Illinois fares in its battle against 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.
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