Pritzker declares public emergency as state confirms four more coronavirus cases

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration Monday as public health officials announced four more cases of the new coronavirus in Illinois.

State officials said Monday that four more people tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus from China at the center of a global outbreak. Thirteen other states have issued disaster declarations. Illinois has confirmed 11 cases of COVID-19.

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Allison Arwady said the four people were in quarantine and in good health.

“Two of these cases, a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 70s, are both family members of the sixth case,” she said. “That’s the woman who acquired the virus on a cruise and who is an employee at a Chicago high school.”

She said the third new case is a woman from California who traveled to Illinois. The fourth case, Arwady said, is a woman in her 70s who returned earlier this month from an Egyptian cruise.

Arwady said an earlier case, the husband of one of the others, was in serious condition.

“This will affect your daily life,” Pritzker said at a news conference in Chicago. “But, know that your city, your county, and your state officials are working hard to stay ahead of this.”

Pritzker asked Illinois residents to stop hoarding resources, especially medical supplies, and to reach out to elderly relatives to make sure they have what they need and are in good health.

Alicia Tate-Nadeau, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said the state’s version of a “state of emergency” will allow it to take greater action in the race to get ahead of the spreading virus.

“We know that many communities have been taxed since mid-February and some of them earlier,” she said. “Identifying additional resources will be key in our response.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Monday there were 423 cases confirmed in 35 states, not counting passengers on cruise ships or those who came from China. Nineteen have died.


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