In late January 2020, a 60-year-old woman became the first person in Chicago confirmed to have contracted coronavirus.
A week later, her husband was diagnosed, marking the first person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States.
In early March, two more cases were confirmed: a pair of spouses being treated “in isolation,” one of whom is currently at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
On March 2, after the two newest cases were reported, Arlington Heights School District 25 reported that two staff members and their children were isolating themselves at home after learning their babysitter, a hospital employee, was exposed to a patient with coronavirus.
On March 5, a fifth case was identified.
In reaction to the outbreak of the deadly virus, O’Hare Airport started screening all passengers coming from Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter of the outbreak. O’Hare was one of five airports where all passengers coming to the United States from Wuhan were being diverted.
There are many known types of coronaviruses. Some cause the common cold. Others — found in bats, camels and other animals — have evolved into more severe illnesses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronavirus, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.