Illinois COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to increase

Coronavirus Watch

CHICAGO (WEHT)- Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed an additional 3,147 COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the statewide total up to 56,055. 105 new COVID-19 related deaths were also confirmed, bringing the total to 2,457 deaths.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and the state’s lead epidemiologist, Wayne Duffus spoke about the need to expand contact tracing efforts across Illinois. Pritzker says contact tracing identifies people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, adding that contact tracing can help identify asymptomatic carriers sooner.

Contact tracers will reach out and interview a confirmed COVID-19 patient and ask about who they may have come in contact with and where they’ve been before notifying others who have been in close proximity with someone who has tested positive. Tracers will then recommend getting tested and self isolating.

To protect the patient’s identity, tracers will not inform others who they came in contact with, only that they have. Duffus says contact tracing is a skill that can be done by anyone who is bright, interested, and has a charming personality.

Pritzker added that areas of the state that have low hospitalization and intensive care rates, and have available ventilators may be able to open before May 30 but adds that he wont do it until he knows it’s safe to do so.

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(This story was originally published on May 1, 2020)

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