CHICAGO (AP) — Three more people have died after contracting the coronavirus in Illinois and 422 people statewide have tested positive for the disease caused by the virus, public health officials announced Thursday.
A total of four people have died in the state as a result of COVID-19. The most recent patients to die are a man in his 50s from Will County, a woman in her 80s from Cook County and a Florida resident who was visiting Sangamon County. More details were not immediately released.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the growth in positive tests for COVID-19 is tied to increased testing by the state labs along with private labs and healthcare institutions.
Pritzker said more than 1,000 tests were administered statewide on Wednesday. He said officials hope to soon increase that to 2,000 tests per day.
He warned people against hoarding food and other essentials based on rumors. Grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies will not close, and the state’s highways and other travel routes will remain accessible, he said.
“There is no need to run out and hoard food, gas or medicine,” Pritzker said. “Buy what you need within reason. There is enough to go around as long as people do not hoard. We will never shut these services down.”
Earlier Thursday, Chicago health officials announced that any resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or who is showing symptoms of the disease must stay indoors, formalizing advice they previously issued in the hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
Patients cannot leave their homes, go to work or visit any group setting except to seek medical care and “life sustaining needs,” including medicine or food, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement that restricting the movement of patients and people with symptoms of COVID-19 “is the best way to prevent the virus from spreading further.”
“We must be all in this together, and people who are sick must stay home to protect themselves and the public,” Lightfoot said.
Anyone who violates the order could be cited by health officials or the police department.
“This move may seem severe to some but in this highly evolving situation it’s absolutely what we need to do at this time as we work to contain this outbreak,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the health department.
The order does not have an end date. The health department said Arwady will lift it with a written order when the threat to public health is diminished.
The health department said symptoms of the acute respiratory disease include fever, cough, shortness of breath, nasal or lung congestion, sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe ones can take three to six weeks to get better.
Pritzker ordered schools statewide to be shut this week through at least the end of the month. Restaurants and bars also were ordered to stop serving dine-in customers and to stick to carryout or delivery options.
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