Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert at the rim with young athletes during Jr. NBA Day at Navy Pier for NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 in Chicago | Photo by Carolina Sanchez [The TRiiBE]

On Wednesday, the coronavirus was declared a pandemic by global officials as new cases in Illinois have increased to 25. One of the 25 cases is linked to the Prudential Plaza in downtown Chicago. 

Additionally, the coronavirus struck Hollywood and NBA communities. On Wednesday evening, actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who are currently in Australia, announced they have contracted the virus. And just before the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz basketball game tip-off, league officials announced that Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hours later, the entire Utah Jazz team was tested for the coronavirus. As of Thursday morning, test results show that Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also has contracted the coronavirus.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, alongside state and health officials, decided to postpone this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day parades across the city. The annual Dyeing of the Chicago River is being rescheduled, as well.

In Chicago, officials are asking residents to avoid large gatherings, especially if feeling sick. 

“I want everyone to rest assured that your city and state continue to work around the clock to stay ahead of this issue and ensure everyone remains protected, informed, and safe,” Lightfoot said.

There are 25 identified coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois, but there could be more unidentified cases. The issue, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, is that there aren’t enough coronavirus tests available to track the virus.

On Wednesday, Pritzker said, “for as long as we’re seeing an increase in cases, and not enough tests,” he plans to be on the phone with federal officials, “to demand that we see a matching increase in tests.”

According to health officials, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — and symptoms can appear between two and 14 days after exposure.

There are no vaccines to protect against the virus at this time, and no medications approved to treat it. Health officials believe the coronavirus is spread between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) from each other through respiratory droplets from sneezes and coughs.

At this time, the most vulnerable populations are people ages 60 and older, or those with underlying health conditions. 

But people outside of identified vulnerable populations have tested positive for coronavirus, such as Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert, who is 27 years old, and Donovan Mitchell, who is 23 years old. 

“We want to be sure that everyone understands the daily measures they can take to keep themselves safe such as social distancing, routine handwashing and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, of Chicago’s Department of Public Health.

As for now, Chicago public health officials recommend the following safety practices:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitize.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who 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. At this time, no special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning are necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness.