Arlington Heights Hospital Releases Statement on Coronavirus Patient

The latest case marked the third person in Illinois to test positive for the coronavirus

The suburban Chicago hospital treating a patient who tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend said Monday that the person remains hospitalized in isolation.

Northwest Community Healthcare said infectious disease specialists are at the hospital "working closely with communicable disease officials from the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC."

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"NCH is closely following recommended guidelines outlined by these officials," the hospital said in a statement. "At the moment we are implementing all associated protocols, including an exposure investigation, to identify those who might have had contact with this patient in order to treat them accordingly. Along with this patient, our top priority will remain to keep our staff and community safe at all times."

The latest case marked the third person in Illinois to test positive for the coronavirus, Cook County and state health officials said in a news release Saturday.

The person has not been identified and additional details, including their condition, weren't immediately available.

Though tests for the latest patient, which were conducted in Illinois, came back with positive results for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, the results have yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention, officials said.

Public health officials said they're working to identify and actively monitor individuals who were in contact with the patient in an effort to reduce the risk of additional transmission.

The state of Illinois also plans to ask the CDC to deploy a team for assistance.

School District 25 in the Arlington Heights said in a letter Sunday that two staff members and their children were contacted by a babysitter whose relative, a hospital employee, had been exposed to the coronavirus patient. The staff members and their children work at or attend Dryden, Ivy Hill, Greenbrier and Olive Mary Stitt schools, the district said.

Though none of the employees or their children have experienced symptoms, the district said the group was staying home to self-monitor.

"I’ve been working directly with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and the Village of Arlington Heights," Superintendent Lori Bein said in a statement. "CCDPH has informed me that there is nothing additional that District 25 should do at this time."

Bein urged students who are sick to stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer show signs of a fever and reminded staff and families of basic health precautions to take, like washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Bein said she was sharing the information "to be proactive."

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The Illinois Primary Health Care Association said the state's community health centers are working with the World Health Organization, the CDC and IDPH to "ensure accurate protocols and communication plans are in place."

"Health centers are educating their staff and patients about the prevention and spread of COVID-19 to help mitigate the risk of a potential spread," the association said in a statement.

In January, two Chicago residents, a husband and wife, were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The wife had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, to care for a relative.

Both patients were treated at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates and have since made a full recovery.

On Saturday, the new coronavirus claimed its first victim inside the U.S. as the White House announced additional travel restrictions on international travel to prevent its spread.

Last month, Illinois became the first state to conduct its own tests for the coronavirus, allowing for quicker results.

At a news conference Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said as a precautionary measure, the state will expand to two additional testing labs in central and southern Illinois in the coming week.

The Illinois Department of Public Health launched a statewide hotline for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, "to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case," Pritzker said. That number is 1 (800) 889-3931.

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