Durbin Convenes CDC, State, And Local Public Health Officials To Discuss Coronavirus Response Plans

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today held a roundtable discussion with officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), and Illinois Medical District (IMD) on the coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak. Officials provided the latest information on how the federal, state, and local governments are working to prevent and address the coronavirus outbreak, and outlined the best practices in responding to this public health challenge.

“I am grateful to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Department of Public Health, and Chicago Department of Public Health for quickly responding to the five reported cases of coronavirus in Illinois.  I will continue to support federal assistance that helps keep Illinoisans safe and healthy in their homes, schools, communities, and neighborhoods as we confront this public health threat,” said Durbin.

There currently are more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 3,400 people have died, the vast majority in China.  In the U.S., there are more than 200 reported cases, including the five in Illinois, plus an additional 49 repatriated Americans from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess Cruise. 

This week, Congress passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that provides $7.8 billion to address the virus in the U.S. The funding will be used for patient monitoring, lab testing, acquisition of test kits and protective equipment, and research into vaccines and therapeutics, among other public health measures.  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is expected to receive at least $14.7 million and the Chicago Department of Public Health is expected to receive an additional $8.7 million.

Separate from the emergency supplemental appropriations funding bill, the CDC announced earlier this week a total of $2.75 million in initial funding for IDPH and $1.75 million in initial funding for CDPH for coronavirus surveillance, infection control, and surge staffing activities.

Last month, Durbin joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to introduce the Public Health Emergency Response and Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation to create a permanent funding mechanism to ensure quick and effective responses to future public health emergencies.

The CDC has provided a list of everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings