* Press release…
State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) says Illinois needs a point person to coordinate coronavirus containment efforts with the federal government.
“We need a person with a strong medical background who can serve as a liaison between Illinois and Washington D.C.,” McSweeney said. “Millions of people visit Chicago every year. The impact this coronavirus would have on our state could be severe. It is important that we work with the federal government and make sure all of our state agencies are taking the appropriate measures. Governor Pritzker should immediately appoint someone to coordinate these efforts.”
Illinois currently has two confirmed coronavirus cases both in Chicagoland area.
“The disease is already here,” McSweeney said. “The Governor should be proactive in protecting Illinois citizens from this potentially deadly virus.”
* I asked the governor’s office for a response…
The health and safety of Illinoisans is a top priority for Governor Pritzker that’s why our state agencies have been coordinating to protect our residents since day one. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau manages all state emergencies and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who has decades of experience in public health, leads a team of qualified experts. IDPH has a team of seasoned epidemiologists who are working closely with other state agencies like IEMA as well as the CDC, CDPH and other public health partners to implement measures that have been able to successfully contain the virus to this point and they are now working diligently to prepare the state and keep our communities safe in the event of further spread.
As subscribers already know, the state’s head epidemiologist recently resigned.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local, state, and federal health partners to take all preventative steps available to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While COVID-19 is not spreading in communities in Illinois or the U.S., there is evidence of community spread in several countries around the world and IDPH is committed to working across local, state, and federal agencies to ensure Illinois is prepared.
IDPH is currently conducting hospital assessments to determine all available capacity in the event more people need medical care. IDPH is also assessing the availability of personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, and masks for health care workers. Earlier this month, Illinois became the first state to provide COVID-19 testing in-state and IDPH is continuing to work on increasing capacity for testing to ensure rapid results.
“As additional cases of COVID-19 are diagnosed in an increasing number of countries, the Illinois Department of Public Health is working with health care providers and local public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other state agencies to coordinate a robust response and take every possible step we can to prepare,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Illinois has already led the charge, becoming the first state to be able to test for COVID-19 at state laboratories. As we move forward, we are working across city, state, and federal agencies to identify all available resources and ensure we are using every tool to keep our communities safe.”
Since January 2020, IDPH has worked closely with local, state, and federal partners to successfully contain the virus in Illinois, with only two confirmed cases. Efforts have included:
* Implementing testing for COVID-19 in Illinois, becoming the first state to do so.
* Setting up a statewide hotline for questions about coronavirus
* Providing guidance and recommendations to local health departments, hospitals, EMS, clinicians, and other partners in a variety of areas:
* Assessment for COVID-19 in patients based on risk due to travel or close contact to a confirmed case
* Evaluation and reporting persons under investigation
* Infection control practices
* Precautions for schools, universities/colleges, and students
* Prevention steps for caregivers and close contacts
* Specimen submission and testing
* Recommended strategies for personal protective equipment use
* Emergency department call triage
* Emergency Medical Services and 911 call center response
* Providing routine briefings to the General Assembly
* Communicating with the public by creating a coronavirus disease webpage, issuing news releases, hosting press conferences, conducting interviews, and providing information on social media.
While efforts to contain the number of COVID-19 cases will continue, Illinois will also utilize community mitigation strategies. Community mitigation aims to slow the spread of a novel virus in communities using nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) better known as “everyday preventive actions” including staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, frequent handwashing, and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects.
In the absence of medications or vaccines, community mitigation measures are the first line of defense against highly transmissible infectious diseases. Preventative actions should be practiced by Illinoisans at all times, but especially as we continue to monitor potential spread of a new virus.
* Coronavirus could lead to drug shortages in US: About 90% of the active ingredients used by U.S. companies in drug manufacturing come from China, which has prompted politicians and public health experts to express concern over potential shortages of common generics. To date, manufacturing disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, haven’t led to reported shortages in the U.S., but the Food and Drug Administration said it’s closely monitoring the situation. The FDA said earlier this week it was tracking about 20 drugs that are manufactured primarily in China. Depending on the drug, stockpiles lasting weeks, perhaps months, have been warehoused, according to supply chain experts.
* What the state is doing about coronavirus
* Illinois public health officials briefing state legislature on coronavirus developments: “IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike has held conference call briefings with legislators’ offices as new information becomes available,” said IDPH spokesperson Chris Martinez. “[The] director and IDPH staff have also been available to answer questions or to provide an update in person or via phone at any time.”
* Patient screened for coronavirus at Belleville Memorial Hospital: “Following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BJC HealthCare hospitals have processes in place to screen patients for risk of coronavirus, or COVID-19,” a statement from BJC Healthcare read. “Based on medical symptoms and travel history, patients may be referred for further laboratory testing. Memorial Hospital Belleville has referred one patient to the Illinois Department of Public Health for testing and is expecting results in the next few days.”
* Area health departments address increasing coronavirus risk: Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has entered what it calls “full pandemic preparedness mode.” They haven’t done that in more than a decade, since the H1N1 virus in 2009. They’re making plans on what to do if the virus comes to central Illinois. Part of that is by holding meeting with hospitals and doctors and communicating with the public on prevention. … A lot of people are wearing surgical masks as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, the CDC does not recommend this for a way to stop yourself from getting it. It is best used for those who are sick and want to keep from spreading whatever they have.
* America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse: There is no federal law guaranteeing paid time off for illness, and paid sick leave is comparatively rare for lower-wage workers. Just 63 percent of people working in service occupations have paid sick leave, versus more than 90 percent of people in management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For people working part-time, just 43 percent can get sick leave from their employer.
* Japan cancels all school for a month, Saudi Arabia puts hajj on hold as coronavirus spreads
* Is the coronavirus a threat to Southern Illinois? Here are 5 things you should know: The deadliness of an outbreak is often measured by the case fatality rate, or the ratio of deaths to the total number of cases in a given area. Within China, the overall fatality rate is 2.3%. The older you are, the greater the risk, Chinese health officials determined in a study released earlier this month. For those younger than 50, the death rate was less than 1%, a number that increases to nearly 15% for people over 80.
* Stocks Fall Sharply As Concern Over Coronavirus Grows
* Pence Picks Top U.S. AIDS Official for Coronavirus Response: Investors anxious about the spread of the coronavirus from its origins in China have sought assurances that the Trump administration is prepared to confront a potential public health crisis. Trump, who in the past has called for budget cuts at the CDC and other health agencies, said Wednesday he would bring in officials from within the government to help with the virus response.