Two Arlington Heights School District 25 employees and their children are staying home from work and school after a member of a babysitter's family was exposed to a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus, the district said in a letter to staff and students' families on Sunday.
The two staff members and their children work at or attend Dryden, Ivy Hill, Greenbrier and Olive Mary Stitt schools, Supt. Lori Bein said in the letter emailed to parents and staff.
Bein wrote that she was contacting families to share the information "out of an abundance of caution."
Two staff members were contacted by a babysitter, who told them that a member of the sitter's family was a hospital employee who had been exposed to a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus, school officials said. None of the people involved - the hospital employee, the babysitter, the staff members or their children - have any symptoms currently, according to the district's superintendent.
But the employees and students "will stay home and self-monitor their symptoms, and they have been in contact with their physicians," Bein wrote. She added that she has been working with the Village of Arlington Heights and the Cook County Department of Public Health, which she said had informed her that there was nothing additional the district "should do at this time."
District officials reminded parents in the email that students should stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications).
The school also shared general reminders on preventing the spread of disease, asking everyone to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue for a cough or sneeze, to wash hands often and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. Do not share eating utensils or drinking containers, district officials warned, advising also against close contact with people who are sick.
Parents whose children are absent from school were also asked to leave a detailed reason, describing any symptoms of illness, on the absence line.
The letter to the district came after Cook County and state health officials announced Saturday that a third person in Illinois had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Northwest Community Healthcare, a hospital in Arlington Heights, said in a statement early Monday that the facility was treating the patient in question and 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."
"NCH is closely following recommended guidelines outlined by these officials," the hospital said. "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 person has not been identified and additional details, including their condition, weren't immediately available.
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, health officials said.
Late 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.