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Illinois Health Department Confirms Over 1,000 Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed 296 new cases of coronavirus disease on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 1,049. The vast majority of the confirmed cases (49%) are in the Chicago metropolitan area.  

Officials announced that an infant was among the newly discovered cases of the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. Speaking about the infected infant during Sunday's coronavirus briefing, IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said it is still unknown if a pregnant woman with the coronavirus can pass it on to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. She said experts are still learning about the disease, which means information is “rapidly evolving.” 

IDPH has reportedly conducted 8,374 tests, but testing remains limited. For now, the health department is only testing people who meet one of two criteria: they are hospitalized with severe pneumonia, or they work in “congregate settings” such as nursing homes or prisons that have at least two suspected cases. 

A sizable portion of the reported cases have been in nursing homes, highlighting chronic problems within the industry. Staffing problems in particular will only be exacerbated by the pandemic as lockdowns and school closures leave many workers with no choice but to stay at home and care for their children.

So far, 46 people have reportedly been infected at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the Chicago suburb of Willowbrook. Experts expect that number to rise in the coming days. 

Nursing care facilities should have an infectious disease strategy in place for viral outbreaks. If a facility’s staff fails to prevent the spread of a disease, they could be held accountable for related illnesses or deaths. 

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