Southern Illinois to get lab to test for coronavirus

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

Heightened awareness and concerns about the coronavirus have led Gov. J.B. Pritzker to address the public on the risk of the coronavirus in Illinois. 

“Our top priority is keeping Illionisians safe,” Pritzker said.

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Only two Illinoisans have contracted the virus so far and both successfully recovered, Pritzker said. 

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At the moment there isn’t a vaccine for the virus but Pritzker said the Department of Public Health is working on it. 

In his press conference, which was live-streamed on Facebook, Pritzker said Illinois was the first state able to test for the virus and will be adding two other testing facilities outside of Cook County, one in central Illinois and one in southern Illinois. 

Pritzker said the Department of Public Health has started a state-wide hotline and website to answer any questions about the coronavirus or report a suspected case. 

The phone number is 1-800-889-3931 and the website is IDPH.illinois.gov. 

Pritzker said the first line of defense is taking the usual precautions when dealing with the flu. For example, washing your hands and staying home when you’re sick will help in the fight. 

“We will continue to communicate with you every step of the way,” Pritzker said. 

After Pritzker finished speaking, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke. 

“As we heard from the governor, there really is no cause for concern,” Lightfoot said. 

Lightfoot said the city of Chicago is working with other cities to better combat the virus. 

“I want to stress to residents that the chances of contracting the virus continue to remain low,” Lightfoot said. She said residents should continue to enjoy the city, especially Chinatown. 

Many of the officials reiterated that the best way to prevent the virus is the same as preventing the flu: Cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands and don’t go out to public or work when sick. 

Officials said even though the virus has been seen in every continent except Antarctica, Illinois’ public health systems are strong.

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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