Loyola Academy in Wilmette Cancels Classes Over Coronavirus Exposure

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Loyola Academy canceled classes on Monday after officials at the private high school in north suburban Wilmette learned that a student and the student's family had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

School administrators learned about the contact Sunday evening, the school said in a message posted on its website that same night.

"On the evening of Sunday, March 8, we were made aware that a current Loyola Academy student and the student’s family had contact with an individual that public health officials report has tested positive for COVID-19," the message reads. "Health officials are awaiting final confirmation from the CDC. This individual has not been on Loyola’s campus at any time. The Loyola student was in class through Friday, March 6. The Loyola student and the student’s family are now under a 14-day quarantine and are not manifesting symptoms of COVID-19."

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"To be clear, no Loyola student or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Based on conversations with medical experts, we believe the risk to Loyola students is very low, however, as a result of this one student’s exposure and out of an abundance of caution, classes will be cancelled tomorrow Monday, March 9," it continues.

"We know this situation is unsettling. However, canceling school on Monday allows us to do an enhanced cleaning of the school and to consult further with public health officials. We will communicate with you on Monday about plans moving forward."

It was not immediately clear to which case the school was referring. Illinois health officials announced Sunday that a seventh person in the state had been diagnosed with coronavirus, marking what they believed to be the first community-transmitted case in Chicago.

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The resident, a man in his 60s, had not traveled to any countries impacted by the virus and had no connection to any of the six previously announced cases, health officials said at a news conference. Authorities said he was hospitalized in serious condition.

Officials announced on Friday that a sixth case in Illinois had been diagnosed in a teacher's aide at Vaughn Occupational High School on Chicago's North Side. Authorities said Sunday that she remained hospitalized in good condition.

A Vanderbilt University student who was diagnosed with the virus after returning from a study abroad program in Italy marked the state's fifth case last week.

Four other patients in Illinois previously tested positive for the coronavirus amid the global outbreak, according to state health officials. Worldwide, more than 110,000 people have been sickened from the rapidly-spreading virus.

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

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. The state also opened this week two additional testing labs in central and southern Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said earlier this month.

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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