03032020HAO0695SPRINGFIELD – This afternoon, the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee, chaired by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), heard from the Illinois Department of Public Health on the status of the response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Illinois.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike explained the testing process. First, samples are taken to a state lab. If a result is positive, it is sent to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.

IDPH’s turnaround for test results is less than a day, while it can take up to a week for a case to be confirmed by the CDC.

Though Illinois is the first state to introduce Coronavirus testing, the state could benefit from more resources. According to IDPH, Illinois currently has 2,200 test kits. Yesterday, the federal government announced that Illinois will receive more kits, but the timeframe for their arrival is uncertain.

“The more we have, the better,” Dr. Ezike said about the kits. “The more we have, the more we can determine what’s happening.”

Dr. Ezike is set to meet with the federal government in Washington tomorrow, where she says she will express the need for more resources.

“While I am pleased with the work that Dr. Ezike, Governor Pritzker and the Department of Public Health have done so far, it is clear that more kits are needed,” said Van Pelt. “I urge the federal government to provide our state, and others, with more kits as soon as possible. If this becomes more serious, we want to make sure that IDPH is equipped to do their jobs in protecting us and containing the virus.”

IDPH has promised to update the General Assembly as new information becomes available.

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