Chicago is prepared for a coronavirus outbreak, Lightfoot says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent update stirred up more concerning questions over the United States' level of preparedness for what they call an inevitable spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot reassured the public Wednesday that the city of Chicago is ready for anything, despite national health officials' ominous warning.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," Lightfoot said. "As I said, we had two cases here in Chicago. Those cases have been dealt with, the people are recovering. But in the event that we need to ramp up quarantine, we are absolutely prepared to do that."

The mayor said she is confident in the city and state plans already in place, but not so much in the White House.

"I will candidly tell you I was disappointed the comments of the CDC yesterday and members of the Trump administration around coronavirus," Lightfoot added.

Dr. Omar Lateef, CEO of Rush University Medical Center, said in the event of a possible local outbreak, area hospitals in the past have always come together.

"Healthcare in America is very siloed, each hospital has specialties and each hospital is different," said Dr. Lateef said. "The one thing that happens when you have a catastrophic event are those silos tend to come down and people work together."

On the state level, the Illinois Department of Public Health said the ability to provide COVID-19 testing in-state has given health officials an added advantage.

"So much of our planning is just an adaptation of that work that's already been done," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "And then, coupled with the ability to do lab testing on site, which very few states have the ability to do. That's another important piece of our preparedness and in being able to identify cases quickly and be able to give results in a very timely manner."
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