Illinois’ likely sixth resident to come down with the new coronavirus is a special education teacher at the Chicago Public School district.
After disembarking from a Grand Princess cruise ship in San Francisco that had multiple passengers confirmed to have COVID-19, the unnamed woman in her 50s returned to Chicago and attended classes at Vaughn Occupational School, where she works as a special education classroom assistant. She worked from shortly after she disembarked from the ship from Feb. 21 to March 2. The announcement that 20 people had the virus came on March 4.
“I want to reassure all of our CPS students and families that our city’s been working relentlessly to protect the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday night.
Officials said the woman is in stable condition and quarantined in a local hospital. Lightfoot would not name her location at the request of the hospital.
“We will be reaching out to all students at this school as well as all employees at this school,” said Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
CPS Superintendent Sheila Jackson said classes at Vaughn were cancelled next week.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker reconfirmed that Illinoisans are not in immediate danger from COVID-19 and need not modify their behavior beyond proper hygiene.
“As a parent myself, I understand how unnerving this information might be for many of Chicago’s residents, but I want to be clear in this case, as in every case, the federal, state, county, and hospital-level public health officials are working to actively identify any individuals who came in contact with this patient,” he said.
COVID-19 has a statistically low mortality rate in children, with reports from the CDC suggesting younger children who tested positive for the virus in China exhibied milder symptoms.