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State Logs Its First COVID-19 Death

A sign-language interpreter, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike
A sign-language interpreter, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Tuesday announced Illinois’ first COVID-19 death – a Chicago woman in her 60’s with underlying medical conditions.

“I’m deeply saddened to share news that I’ve dreaded since the earliest days of this outbreak – the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois,’’ he said. “The patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month.”

Pritzker said the woman had close contact with another person who has tested positive.  

The latest numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health show 160 people in 15 counties have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  

Meanwhile, at a private DuPage county long-term care facility, 18 residents and four staff members have tested positive. All are now isolated in one wing at the facility or a hospital.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state's public health director, said, “This reinforces the need for all of us do to our part to reduce possible exposure in the community.”

Pritzker says the spread of the cases at the nursing home underscores the need for the federal government to assist the states in getting more supplies and testing equipment.

Copyright 2020 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is the NPR Illinois News Editor and a lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and is curator of the Equity blog. Maureen joined the staff in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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