Illinois health dept. marks 2-year anniversary of first COVID-19 case

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks during a news conference Jan. 30 in Chicago about coronavirus cases in Illinois. She is flanked by Cook County Department of Public Health Chief Operating Officer Dr. Terry Mason (left) and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. Ezike said in a news release Feb. 26 the department is “working with health care providers and local public health officials, the (CDC), and other state agencies to coordinate a robust response and take every possible step we can to prepare.” ( photo)

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to urge people to get vaccinated and boosted as it marks the two-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case reported in Illinois.  Two years later, IDPH is reporting more than 30,000 COVID-19 deaths in Illinois.

“On Jan.  24, 2020 when we announced the first case of COVID-19 in Illinois, we were not imagining that two years later we would still be battling the virus with this ferocity,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “While we have seen the highest number of cases and hospitalizations throughout the entire pandemic this January, we are cautiously optimistic that those numbers will continue to decrease as quickly as they rose due to the Omicron variant.”

“We have learned a great deal in the two years since the first case was reported in Illinois and we continue to learn as this virus and its variants are constantly changing.  We now have safe and effective vaccines; we have oral antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments; and we know that proper masking, testing, and isolation and quarantine can help slow the spread of the virus.

“As COVID-19 evolves, so too will our recommendations and guidance.  Our goal remains the same – to protect the health and safety of all Illinois residents as we explore how we will coexist with COVID-19.”

Illinois milestones:

  • Jan. 24, 2020 –First confirmed Illinois case of COVID-19 reported in a Chicago resident, a woman in her 60s who returned from Wuhan, China on January 13, 2020.
  • Jan. 30, 2020 – second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Illinois reported in a man in his 60s and the spouse of the first confirmed case in Illinois.  This was the first person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States.
  • Feb. 11, 2020 – IDPH announces it is able to conduct testing for SARS-CoV-2 making Illinois the first state to be able to perform in-state testing.
  • March 17, 2020 – IDPH announces the first COVID-19 death in Illinois.
  • Dec. 15, 2020 – First COVID-19 vaccines administered in Illinois.

Attorney general urges caution with pop-up COVID testing sites

Lawsuit seeks to block school mask mandates, exclusion rules