Quiet scenes outside Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois — the state where the second United States coronavirus COVID-19 case was announced at a hospital in Hoffman Estates.
From the outside, everything looks normal at Northwest Community Hospital at 800 West Central Road in Arlington Heights. However, inside there are unofficial reports leaked that a coronavirus (COVID-19) patient was admitted at Northwest Community Hospital. Discussions about internal emails, mentions on Twitter, and mentions on a TikTok video have declared that a coronavirus patient is being treated at Northwest Community Hospital. None of the content seen by CARDINAL NEWS has mentioned the gender or age of the patient.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle tweeted Saturday February 29, 2020 at 9:52 p.m. that the case was confirmed in suburban Cook County. That acknowledgement was much more vague than the announcement that occurred when the second case in the United States was announced to be in Illinois, and the hospital was immediately identified as AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center.
Here is what we don’t know from officials about the third Illinois case …
Is the coronavirus COVID-19 infection an instance of community spread — an infection of unknown origin?
Did the patient engage with multiple people at multiple locations?
Is the patient an adult, or a school age patient?
When was the patient admitted?
Is the patient at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights or another hospital?
It’s possible that a community spread instance with a more complex exposure history in the community would require a more comprehensive explanation from officials — especially compared to the first case that involved a patient that had explained exposure in China.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) on Saturday, February 29, 2020 announced that another Illinois patient (third patient) had tested positive for COVID-19. The tests conducted in Illinois resulted in presumptive positive for COVID-19, which means the absolute positive test results will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab in Atlanta, Georgia.
The IDPH reported the patient is hospitalized in isolation and CDC protocols have been implemented.
Public health officials are working to identify and actively monitor individuals who were in contact with the patient in an effort to reduce the risk of additional transmission. The state of Illinois will request CDC deploy a team to Illinois to support these efforts.
Governor JB Pritzker has requested that hospitals across the state implement additional testing to improve surveillance for COVID-19. Illinois was the first state to provide COVID-19 testing and Gov. Pritzker announced two more IDPH labs in central and southern Illinois that will be able to test specimens next week.
Illinois has had two previously confirmed cases of COVID-19 and both patients made a full recovery.
Symptoms reported among patients have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Right now, because the virus has not been found to be spreading widely in the U.S., risk to the general public remains low. Public health officials are encouraging the public to not alter their daily routines and remain vigilant about keeping germs from spreading, by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands with warm soap and water, and staying home when sick.
On Friday, February 28, 2020 High School District 214 released an email to parents and guardians providing information about how District 214 is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
With the worldwide spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), District 214 has been proactive in working to ensure that the health and safety of students and our staff remains our top priority.
Our building and grounds teams are actively cleaning and sanitizing high touch places in the buildings such as desks, handrails, doorknobs, computer keyboards, faucet handles, phones etc. We are reviewing our plans for school closings should the need arise and what arrangements can be made for online learning.
There are a number of student trips and tours planned for the remainder of the semester. Building administration will communicate with those students and parents regarding their status if they need to be rescheduled or cancelled. In addition, if your student has recently traveled overseas or plans to travel overseas, we ask that you report this information to your building administration for data collection purposes.
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, please remind your student to consistently utilize the following preventative actions:
• Cover your cough or sneeze
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• See your doctor if you have a fever, cough, body aches, and fatigue
• Stay home and limit contact with others if you are sick
The District is actively monitoring the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Health Department, the Illinois State Board of Education and local municipalities. Per health department guidelines, any individual who has returned from mainland China would need to be self-quarantined for 14 days.
The following resources provide guidance related to the coronavirus:
Illinois Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Illinois has also established a coronavirus hotline and email address. If you have specific questions about the coronavirus, you can contact the Illinois coronavirus hotline at 800-889-3931 or via email at [email protected]
As the local, state and national landscapes continue to evolve, the District and school administration will remain vigilant and continue to keep you informed on how this impacts your student and District 214.
David R. Schuler, Ph.D.
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