SPRINGFIELD — With evidence that the coronavirus disease COVID-19 is spreading in several countries around the world, the Illinois Department of Public Health said it’s taking steps to limit any possible spread here.
The virus is not spreading in communities in Illinois or the U.S. But CDC officials warned this week that Americans should prepare for more COVID-19 cases, saying it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’
In a statement, Illinois public health officials said they’re assessing hospitals to determine availability of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns and masks for health care workers.
The assessment will also determine all available capacity to respond, in the event more people need medical care.[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Click here for more coronavirus coverage & resources[/perfectpullquote]
The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging everyone to practice good hygiene to help slow the spread of all infectious diseases. Preventive actions include: staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing.
Illinois has had two confirmed cases of COVID-19. Another 66 people under investigation tested negative and two cases are still pending.
IDPH officials said they’re working closely with local, state and federal partners to contain the virus in Illinois.
Efforts include implementing testing for COVID-19 in Illinois, setting up a statewide hotline for questions about the coronavirus and providing guidance and recommendations to local health departments, hospitals and other health care workers.
The CDC maintains the immediate risk to the general public is low at this time.
Christine Herman is a reporter for Illinois Public Media. Follow her on Twitter: @CTHerman