25 cases of Coronvirus identifed in Illinois, thankfully none local

Earlier today, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially labeled the COVID-19 viral disease, also known as the Coronavirus/Corona Virus that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people, a pandemic event.

According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus a Geneva briefing, "This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus." Today's announcement is the first time the WHO has called an viral flu outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 "swine flu" in 2009.

Over 120,000 confirmed cases have been identified and more than 4,000 deaths have occurred as the virus continues to spread around the globe. In the United States, there have been one thousand COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths reported so far. New York state, with one of the largest known virus clusters in the country, has set up a "containment area" around the city of New Rochelle. According to news sources, 108 cases have been confirmed in Westchester County, New York.

According to the IDPH website, testing has confirmed 25 cases in Illinois as of time of article. Two hundred and sixty-six tests were rule negative. The IDPH lists 76 test still pending.

Illinois residents can follow infection rates on the IDPH site on the Covid-19 Persons Under Investigation tracking page.

Symptoms, which has an incubation period of two to 14 days, may include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. The virus is 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.

To avoid contracting the illness, the Center for Disease Control is recommending the people wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and be sure to wipe all surfaces of your hands. Rub your hand together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Since there is not a vaccine available or medicinal cure available at this time, the CDC also recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick. People should do their best to put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting sick or with suppressed immune systems.

If you have any questions call 1-800-889-3931 to speak with an expert at the IDPH.

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