Northeastern Illinois University announces first case of coronavirus
April 7, 2020
Northeastern Illinois University announced its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 virus in an email distributed to students and faculty Monday afternoon. According to NEIU officials, it is the lone confirmed case at NEIU.
The email read, “Northeastern Illinois University has just been informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a student. It is the only confirmed case at our University. For reasons of health privacy, the University cannot provide additional details about the individual.
“All members of the University Community should contact Northeastern if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. Students should inform Student Health Services, and employees should inform Human Resources. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of this virus.”
According to NEIU’s Director of Strategic Communications Mike Hines, the university is unable to disclose the student’s personal information due to privacy and health concerns. While Hines states that the university is unable to determine where or how the affected student contracted the coronavirus, he says the university anticipates more confirmed cases over the upcoming weeks.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, we anticipate that our University will be among those that will continue to experience additional confirmed cases,” writes Hines, corresponding via email.
“Northeastern is committed to protecting all of our students, faculty and staff as well as the communities beyond our University. We encourage all members of the University community to stay vigilant about handwashing and social distancing as we work together to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Hines confirmed that the student infected with COVID-19 is not a resident of The Nest, NEIU’s on-campus student housing dormitory.
Says Hines: “Northeastern is not aware of any positive cases at The Nest. If a positive case does arise, Nest management will work alongside the University and follow guidance from health authorities to ensure the individual receives appropriate medical attention, and that quarantine procedures and other precautions are taken to protect all residents.”
As of Monday, 3,680 confirmed and suspected patients of COVID-19 are hospitalized in Illinois, with 1,166 currently residing in the intensive care unit. Of those patients, 821 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator while an additional 380 Illinois residents succumbed to the coronavirus.
In response to a rapid influx of coronavirus patients overwhelming Illinois’ hospital system, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker shared the state’s plan to increase hospital capacity.
“Since the earliest days of our COVID-19 response, my administration has worked with our state’s network of more than 200 hospitals to increase capacity in our existing health systems,” said Pritzker. “These trends offer us further insight into the overall reach of COVID-19 in our state as we adjust the ‘how,’ ‘what’ and ‘where’ of our response.”
Illinois is currently experiencing a hospital bed shortage, with 11,993 of the state’s 28,139 beds still available. As of Monday night, there are less open hospital beds (949) than beds occupied by coronavirus COVID-19 patients (1,166) in Illinois.