Glencoe Public Works Employee Under Voluntary Quarantine After Exposure to Coronavirus

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An employee of the Village of Glencoe in Chicago's north suburbs was under voluntary quarantine after being exposed to someone with a confirmed case of the coronavirus, the village announced Wednesday.

The individual in question is a Public Works Department employee, the village said in a statement that did not release any further identifying information.

The employee "was exposed to a different individual, who was subsequently confirmed to be infected with coronavirus," the statement said, but was not showing any signs of the virus and was self-monitoring under voluntary quarantine at home. The employee was also in contact with their healthcare professional, officials said.

The employee was at work earlier in the week after the initial exposure but had "minimal contact with the general public," according to the village.

CPS also addressed questions about whether the Chicago school district would consider closing schools as coronavirus concerns persist.

"The Village has consulted with NorthShore University Health System, the Cook County Department of Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health and is taking the appropriate safety measures, including continuing to clean and disinfect public spaces in Village facilities and employee work areas, as well as encouraging employees and residents to follow best practices recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. At this time, no impacts to Village services are expected," the statement said.

Four patients in Illinois have tested positive for the coronavirus amid the global outbreak, according to state health officials. Worldwide, more than 94,000 people have been sickened and more than 3,200 have died from the rapidly-spreading virus.

Illinois officials announced Monday that a woman in her 70s, the spouse of a man who tested positive over the weekend, was also diagnosed with the coronavirus, marking the state's fourth case.

The man was being treated at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, the hospital said, while health officials said the woman was being quarantined at home. Authorities said Monday that both patients were in good condition.

"Public health officials are working to identify and actively monitor individuals who were in contact with both patients in an effort to prevent additional transmission," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. "Public health officials will reach out to individuals who may have been exposed."

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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.

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.

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.

On Monday, officials said Pritzker requested that hospitals across the state implement additional testing to "improve surveillance for COVID-19."

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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