State of Illinois reveals plan for coronavirus testing

Gov. Pritzker says the state can test for the virus and plans to open up labs around the state as testing sites.

The State of Illinois has detailed its plan to combat the coronavirus in a Friday, February 28th press release.

The statement says that within the next week, the administration will be able to expand coronavirus testing options statewide, opening up new labs in central and southern Illinois.

Illinois is also partnering with hospitals across the state to set up voluntary testing, which will allow them to diagnose cases quickly. 

Other coronavirus response efforts inclue:

 Airport screening and monitoring health of travelers returning from China.

  • • Investigating confirmed cases of COVID-19 and monitoring friends and family who may have been exposed.
    • Planning community measures that can help limit the spread of disease, like having ill individuals stay home (including housing and transportation needs).
    • Providing regular guidance to hospitals and healthcare professionals, including information on infection control, personal protective equipment (PPE) supply planning, and clinical evaluation.
    • Working to expand local laboratory testing for COVID-19.
    • Developing and distributing guidance for childcare facilities, schools, universities, businesses, community- and faith-based organizations, among many others.

In addition to efforts by local health systems, there are important steps individuals and communities can take to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread:

  • • Practice everyday preventive actions such as performing frequent hand hygiene, using hand sanitizer or soap and water when visibly soiled; covering your cough and sneezes; avoiding ill people; and staying home when sick (except to seek medical care). These simple actions can prevent the spread of many illnesses, including COVID-19.
    • Healthcare providers should continue to ask patients with fever and respiratory symptoms about their travel history. Refer to CDC's Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for more information on screening and evaluating Persons Under Investigation.
    • Childcare facilities, K-12 schools and colleges/universities should review their emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and online learning.
    • Businesses and employers should actively encourage all employees to stay home when sick, perform hand hygiene, and cover coughs and sneezes. Businesses should review their emergency operations plan, including identification of essential business functions, teleworking and flexible sick leave policies. For more information see CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
    • Community- and faith-based organizations should review existing emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and modifying large gatherings such as concerts and festivals.

Officials also warned against stigmatization toward specific populations and said knowing the facts about COVID-19 will help minimize stigma and misinformation.

"Our top priority is keeping Illinoisans safe and we are using every tool and resource at our disposal to prepare for this virus and contain any spread," said Governor JB Pritzker. "This is a coordinated effort with state, city and local entities working together to put the full weight of our government behind this response. Illinois has a leading public health system that was the first - and remains one of just a few nationally - able to test for COVID-19 and we will continue leading the way forward to protect our communities."