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Local

Illinois becomes first to conduct in-state coronavirus testing

Quicker test results a plus, board member says

PRINCETON —áThe Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that the state is the first to be able to conduct in-state testing of the coronavirus.

Donna Braida, chairwoman of Bureau County Board’s health department committee, shared the news during Tuesday’s board meeting. She said the kits are being sent to laboratories in Springfield, Chicago and Carbondale.

The kits will be used for upper and lower respiratory specimens on patients who meet the criteria of the coronavirus. Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Braida passed out a copy of the IDPH release to board members, which stated test results are typically available within 24 hours.

“The ability to do testing will mean we will be able to detect any new cases of novel coronavirus earlier and prevent any possible spread,” said IDPH Assistant Director Evonda Thomas-Smith.

“We understand there is concern about this new virus, which is why having test results back quickly can help reduce some of those concerns.”

Following Tuesday's board meeting, Hector Gomez, director of the Bureau, Putnam, Marshall County Health Department, confirmed the Illinois Valley area is still at a low risk of the virus.

However, Gomez said during a webinar earlier in the day Tuesday with representatives from the Centers for Disease Control, he found out the U.S. number of people diagnosed has reached 13. As of Wednesday, more than 1,100 deaths had been recorded globally, mostly in China.

The IDPH, along with the Illinois Poison Center, has set up a hotline for Illinois residents to call if they have questions about the coronavirus. Residents in Illinois outside Chicago can call 800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@illinois.gov.

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