CHICAGO — Another 138 people in Illinois died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 3,239 more cases were confirmed, officials announced Thursday.
Illinois has now seen 3,928 deaths linked to COVID-19.
There have been 87,937 confirmed cases, although tens of thousands of people have already recovered.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, urged people to follow the state’s stay at home order and practice social distancing when away from home.
“I know for some, family members have been taken away,” she said. “But we must try our hardest not to continue to add to that death toll. Yes, we understand that not every life can be saved, but we will do what we can.
“Everyone is at risk of contracting this virus, no matter what country you live in, what municipality you live in. COVID-19 does not care about the color of your skin or your political affiliation. Let’s all protect ourselves to minimize the ravages of this virus.
“Let’s not let this virus succeed in dividing our families, our communities or our state. Let’s keep working together to end this pandemic. The way we respond to this virus today will affect our lives for the generations to come.”
There has been some pushback to the stay at home order as the weather has warmed up. But Gov. JB Pritzker said the vast majority of people are still practicing social distancing — and he’s not worried about legal threats to the order.
“Our curve is bent and it is flattening, and that didn’t just happen by accident. It happened because we put executive orders in and people have followed those orders,” Pritzker said. “For now, this is working. People need to follow it.
“I want for every region and everybody in the state of Illinois to be doing precisely what they’d like to be doing right now, but we are facing a very difficult circumstance. … It’s the loudest folks that you’re hearing from and not the vast majority of the almost 1,300 municipalities that exist in the state or the 102 counties. It’s just the very loud voices of people who are being defiant and ignoring science and data.”
The governor also noted all four of the state’s regions are now poised to progress to Phase 3 of the reopening plan by the end of the month.
Of the people still sick, 4,473 people were in hospitals around the state. Of those, 1,132 were in ICU and 689 were on ventilators.
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 and Prevention. Even people who show 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 are:
- 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, seek immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.
How To Protect Yourself
Here’s what you can 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, such as 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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