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New coronavirus case reported in suburban Cook County: officials

The patient has been “hospitalized in isolation” and health officials are currently in the process of tracking down people who may have come into contact with the patient.

Evonda Thomas-Smith, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, discusses the response to the 2019 novel coronavirus during a news conference at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library Thursday morning. Behind her are Dr. Terry Mason (left), chief operating officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, and Mabel Moy of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Terry Mason (left), chief operating officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, and Mabel Moy (right), of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, look on as Evonda Thomas-Smith, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, discusses the response to the 2019 novel coronavirus during a news conference at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library, Feb. 13, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

A person in suburban Cook County has tested positive for the coronavirus, making them the third person in Illinois to have contracted the virus as it spreads around the globe.

The announcement was made Saturday in a joint statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The patient has been “hospitalized in isolation,” the statement said. Health officials are currently in the process of tracking down people who may have come into contact with the patient, though health officials did not say exactly where the person was from.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle confirmed the case was identified in suburban Cook County.

“I want to assure residents that the Cook County Department of Public Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the state public health department as we monitor the situation closely,” Preckwinkle wrote on Twitter. “I will continue to provide you with the most up-to-date information as it becomes available.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention still has to confirm the positive test results, officials said. Illinois state officials have requested a CDC team be sent to help with the response.

A Chicago couple who contracted the coronavirus in January were the first and only Illinois residents to test positive for the disease until this third patient was announced. They were released from a Hoffman Estates hospital earlier this month, and have since made a full recovery, health officials said.

On Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans to expand testing for the disease.

Health officials are advising the public to “remain vigilant about keeping germs from spreading, by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands with warm soap and water, and staying home when sick,” though they said people don’t need to alter their daily routines.