A Chicago woman in her 60s has been identified as the first Illinois resident to die in the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference this afternoon state officials also announced that 18 residents and four staff members at a long-term-care facility in DuPage County have been confirmed by tests to be suffering from the disease.

And Evanston health officials say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Evanston residents has increased from two to four.

Overall the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state stands at 160, said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. That’s up from 105 reported on Monday.

Ezike said four people who came down with the disease early in the epidemic now have fully recovered. Officials say some of the big increase in new cases today is a result of the increased availability of tests for the disease.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that his executive order barring gatherings of more than 50 people would require the closure of event venues, fitness centers, health clubs, bowling alleys and similar facilities.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s health commissioner, said the woman who died had been a contact of another confirmed coronavirus case and had underlying health conditions. She had been hospitalized at the time of her death.

Ezike said health workers were able to test all residents of the DuPage facility, the Chateau Nursing Center in Willowbrook, within 24 hours after the first case was confirmed. She said all of the residents who tested positive are now either hospitalized or being cared for in a separate wing of the facility. Staff members who tested positive have been furloughed to stay at home.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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