State and local health officials on Sunday announced the seventh case of coronavirus in Illinois — a Chicago man in his 60s — and the first one that appears unconnected to travel or contact with someone diagnosed with the virus.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said this is likely the first case of what’s termed “community transmission” in the city. While she said this does not signal a widespread outbreak, it does mean that person-to-person spread might become a factor.
“Community spread has been detected in a growing number of countries and in parts of the U.S.,” she said at an afternoon news conference. “For weeks, we have been preparing so that Chicago is ready if we do confirm this local person-to-person potential for spread.”
“With this possible evidence of transmission in the community we do anticipate that there will be additional cases,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Sunday. “However, we do not see that the virus is circulating widely at this time in Illinois.”
Arwady said the man is hospitalized in serious condition. Officials said the patient is not connected to the sixth COVID-19 case in Illinois that was announced Friday night, a woman in her 50s who is a teacher aide at a Chicago special education school.
Arwady did not provide any additional information about the new case, such as where in Chicago the man lives, who he might have come in contact with or what hospital he is being treated in.