CHICAGO - Officials have announced 128 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, bringing the state total to 288.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at a press conference with Governor JB Pritzker and state officials. The new batch of positive cases nearly double the total from the previous day.
Also, an additional 20 individuals at a nursing home in DuPage County have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 42 -- 30 residents and 12 staff.
Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 288 coronavirus cases in 17 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 91.
Social distancing measures everyone can take include:
-Staying home as much as possible
-If gatherings are necessary, limiting the number of people to 10
-Calling to check on family, neighbors, and older adults instead of visiting
-Checking with your provider about telehealth options
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Schools statewide shut down this week at the order of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Restaurants and bars also have been ordered to stop serving dine-in customers and stick to carryout or delivery options.
Even with those efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, “these numbers will get much worse in Illinois before they get better,” Pritzker said Wednesday at a daily update on the state’s response.
Pritzker said essential services will remain open in Illinois, including groceries and pharmacies. He has enlisted 60 members of the National Guard so far for various missions, including delivery of meals to children who received food through their schools.
They also could help hospitals prepare outdoor screening areas for people who want to be tested for the coronavirus, allowing separation from other patients headed to an emergency room, he said.
Illinois did move forward Tuesday with its primary election, forcing local election officials to scramble to find replacement polling sites and election judges when others backed out due to health concerns. Arizona and Florida voters also went to the polls Tuesday.
Operations at Chicago’s Midway International Airport remained limited on Wednesday, a day after federal authorities closed the control tower after technicians tested positive for the coronavirus.
The city’s second-largest airport was open but the Federal Aviation Administration said the air traffic control tower was still closed for cleaning.
According to the city’s Department of Aviation, 337 flights have been canceled during the past 24 hours at Midway out of 527 total planned flights. By early afternoon Wednesday, 26 flights were listed as delayed.
“We’re working with the FAA to resume normal operations as quickly and safely as possible which ultimately means having the tower back in service,” the Department of Aviation said in a statement. “Given this reality, and for their own business and network reasons, the airlines are making the decision to cancel many flights.”
Officials said travelers should check with their airline about flight schedules.
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For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s health commissioner said Tuesday that “I suspect we are going to see a lot more cases in the days to come, because we are seeing a lot more testing,” said Dr. Allison Arwady. “That is a good thing.”
Associated Press and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.