The Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments, public health partners throughout Illinois, and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are responding to an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus called COVID-19 that was first identified in December 2019 during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, including the United States, since it was detected and was declared a public health emergency for the U.S. on Jan. 31, 2020, to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to the threat. The World Health Organization announced on March 11, 2020, that the spread of coronavirus qualifies as a global pandemic.
In addition, Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation on March 9, 2020, regarding COVID-19 that gives the state access to federal and state resources to combat the spread of this newly emerged virus.
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on Jan. 21, 2020, and the first confirmed case in Illinois was announced on Jan. 24, 2020 (a Chicago resident). The first cases outside Chicago and Cook County were reported on March 11, 2020, in Kane and McHenry counties. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on the CDC webpage at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html. Illinois case totals and test results are listed here.
Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 appears to be mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Preliminary data suggest older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems seem to be at greater risk of developing serious illness from the virus.
If you are sick and have respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, stay home and call your medical provider. Keep in mind there is no treatment for COVID-19, and people who are mildly ill can isolate themselves at home. While at home, as much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people. Those who need medical attention should contact their healthcare provider, who will evaluate whether they can be cared for at home or need to be hospitalized.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people.
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. However, the emergence of novel (new) coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, has been associated with more severe respiratory illness.
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include.
Shortness of breath
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through
the air by coughing and sneezing
close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
rarely, fecal contamination
The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself from becoming infected.
wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
avoid close contact with people who are sick
There are currently no vaccines to protect against human coronavirus infection
There are no specific treatments. To help relieve symptoms