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Coping with COVID: April 16

Illinois increases testing availability. Surge in COVID-19 deaths Thursday. Commissioner Donna Miller will host a virtual town hall Friday on nutrtion and wellness. WHO releases new guidelines on the process of returning to social and economic activity. 

Testing availability on the rise. In addition to a new drive-thru testing site opened this week in Markham, the state will be expanding testing through its network of Federally Qualified Health Centers, including Aunt Martha’s in Chicago Heights and Harvey. A list of sites is at coronavirus.illinois.gov, which also has information on eligibility for testing. The Markham site, at the auto emissions testing facility, , took more than 600 specimens on its first day of operation, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “With this new site, our three drive-throughs now have the ability to run up to 1,800 tests per day.” 

Virtual town hall on nutrition and wellness. Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller will host the third of three virtual town hall sessions via Facebook live at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 17. Two experts will be on hand to discuss how nutrition and wellness can help combat COVID-19.

Surge in deaths. Thursday marked the most deaths in Illinois attributed to COVID-19 in a 24-hour period since the pandemic began, with 125. The number of new cases was down, however, with 1,146. The worst day for new cases was Sunday, April 12, with 1,672.

WHO provides new guidelines for easing COVID-19 mitigation measures. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization updated its guidelines to help governments know when and how to scale back restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus, including six criteria: 

  1. COVID‑19 transmission is controlled to a level of sporadic cases and clusters of cases, all from known contacts or importations and the incidence of new cases should be maintained at a level that the health system can manage with substantial clinical care capacity in reserve. 
  2. Sufficient health system and public health capacities are in place to enable the major shift from detecting and treating mainly serious cases to detecting and isolating all cases.
  3. Outbreak risks in high-vulnerability settings are minimized.
  4. Workplace preventive measures are established to reduce risk.
  5. Risk of imported cases managed through an analysis of the likely origin and routes of importations, and measures would be in place to rapidly detect and manage suspected cases among travelers.
  6. Communities are fully engaged and understand that the transition entails a major shift, from detecting and treating only serious cases to detecting and isolating all cases, that behavioral prevention measures must be maintained, and that all individuals have key roles in enabling and in some cases implementing new control measures.

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