By Jim Hagerty
CHICAGO – Four more people have died in Illinois from COVID-19, state officials reported Tuesday, March 24.
The latest casualties include a Chicago man in his 50s, two Cook County residents in their 60s and a DuPage County woman in her 90s.
There are now 1,535 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. The disease is currently in 32 counties, with Cook seeing about 73% of all cases. Sixteen people have died.
In Winnebago County, there have been seven confirmed cases of the virus. As of this report, 288 people have been tested. More than 132 were negative while 150 tests are still pending.
Nationally, there are currently 52,447 documented cases of COVID-19 with a total of 674 deaths.
The majority of those who are infected with the coronavirus will experience flu-like symptoms and recover in several days. It is highly contagious, however, and can be critical for seniors and those with underlying conditions, a situation officials say has already started to put extreme burdens on hospitals across the country.
“Health-care workers are being overworked,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
To lighten the increased workload, Pritzker has called on retired medical workers or those who’ve move on to other fields to return to the profession during this time of need. So far, he said “hundreds” have answered that call and a lot of them are in the process of re-certifying.
“We are trying to to fill up the need for more health-care workers so we can alleviate some of the work on the front lines,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker said Illinois is also allowing health care professionals licensed in nearby states to work in Illinois during the pandemic.
“We want to make sure they get licensed and we offer reciprocity for those folks,” he said. “We want to be able to move health-care workers to where they are most needed.”
This story has been updated.