A DePaul University faculty member has tested positive for coronavirus, the university announced Wednesday.
The faculty member was last at the Chicago school's building at 1150 W. Fullerton Ave. on Sunday with another person not associated with the school who also tested positive for the virus.
"For precautions and the safety of the community the building at 1150 W. Fullerton Ave., including the Chicago Public Library branch and AMITA Sage Medical, will close today, March 18, to allow for cleaning," the university said in a statement.
AMITA Sage Medical in Lincoln Park will reopen on Thursday. Anyone with coronavirus questions is being urged to call the Chicago Department of Public Health's call center at (312) 746-4835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The university closed all of its libraries, computer labs and fitness center Tuesday. Beginning Wednesday and continuing through spring break, the school said its Lincoln Park Student Center will be limited to students, faculty and staff and an ID will be required to go in.
It remains unclear if the faculty member is among the 55 new confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in Illinois Tuesday. The spike lifted the statewide number of confirmed cases to 160 in 15 counties, health officials said.
At the same time, the first coronavirus-related death was also reported in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.
The patient was a Chicago woman in her 60s with an underlying condition, Pritzker said. The woman was not a nursing home resident and had been diagnosed earlier this month.
"It will take all of us making intense sacrifices to reduce the spread of the virus and free up our health care system to care for those that need it most," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
Among the now 160 statewide cases were 22 at a DuPage County long-term care facility, the same location where a woman had tested positive over the weekend. The new cases at the facility include 18 residents and four staff members, all of whom are in isolation, officials said Tuesday.
“Residents in nursing homes are our most vulnerable population and we are doing everything we can to protect them," Ezike said. "We may see cases in other long-term care facilities, which is why it is so important that we all do our part to reduce possible exposure in the community to those who go in and out of these facilities as they provide care to resident.”
The news comes as thousands of voters left their homes to head to polling locations in Illinois, despite restaurants, bars and schools all being shut down during the pandemic.
"We lost an Illinoisan today to COVID-19," Pritzker said. "There are going to be moments during the next few weeks and months when this burden feels like it is more than we can bear – this is one of those moments, but we will get through this together."
The latest statewide number marks a jump from the total of 105 cases reported as of Monday and health officials said the expect the number will continue to climb.
"Containment measures will not show up today or tomorrow...they are about bending the curve long term," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that mandatory gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled in accordance with new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This was a difficult decision, but it's what the medical experts and the scientists tell us we must do," he said.
In an effort to minimize the spread of the virus, all Illinois restaurants and bars closed for dine-in customers at 9 p.m. Monday. The temporary closure will continue through March 30, but delivery, drive-thru and curbside pickup options will still be allowed.
Also on Monday, all Illinois casinos closed for 14 days in accordance to guidelines issued by the state gaming board.