COVID-19 ILLINOIS: McCormick Place Could Be Largest Alternate COVID-Care in U.S.; 53 New Deaths Statewide

COVID-19 ILLINOIS: McCormick Place Could Be Largest Alternate COVID-Care in U.S.; 53 New Deaths Statewide

Kane County Connects Daily Updates

  • COVID-19 OVERVIEW — A roundup of national and international updates.
  • COVID-19 STATE — State of Illinois and Illlinois Department of Public Health updates (Includes daily updates from Gov. JB Pritzker’s news conferences and Kane County COVID-19 alerts from the IDPH.)
  • COVID-19 KANE COUNTY — Kane County updates, including information from the Kane County Health Department, courts, Sheriff’s Office, and all units of county government. (Note:  IDPH provides breaking information on the numbers of cases or deaths in Kane County.)
  • COVID-19 COMMUNITIES — A roundup of information from municipalities, park districts, libraries, as well as local human interest stories.
  • COVID-19 SCHOOLS — Updates on school closings or openings, meals and online learning.
  • COVID-19 HOSPITALS — Vital links to local hospital websites and additional trusted information on COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 BUSINESS/CONSUMERS —Business news, what’s open and closed, where to find stuff you need, and updates from local chambers of commerce.
  • COVID-19 CONNECTIONS — Personal observations, photos, miscellaneous news, quirky and fun stuff related to the days of COVID in Kane.
  • COVID-19 HOW TO HELP — Volunteer opportunities, donation sites and other local efforts to help people during the COVID-19 emergency.

4PM FRIDAY, APRIL 4

“I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of pride and patriotism,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in his opening remarks. “This is Illinois.”

What was different than past daily messages was the venue. State officials and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made their 2:30 p.m. news conference from McCormick Place, a field hospital under rehab by the Army Corp of Engineers, construction professionals and medical equipment providers.

“This is a phenomenal amount of work,” Lightfoot said.

IDPH: 1,209 New Cases, 53 Deaths

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,209 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 53 additional deaths.

  • Christian County: 1 female 80s
  • Cook County: 1 male 30s, 1 female 50s, 4 male 50s, 4 females 60s, 6 males 60s, 1 unknown 60s, 2 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 4 females 90s, 1 female 100s
  • DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s
  • Kane County: 1 female 90s
  • Kankakee County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 80s
  • Lake County: 1 male 40s, 2 female 60s, 4 male 60s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
  • Will County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s

DeWitt, Effingham, and Jersey counties are now reporting cases. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 8,904 cases, including 210 deaths, in 64 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

For all personal protective equipment donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

First Completed Phase of McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility

State and Chicago officials announced the completion of the first phase of work to transform the McCormick Place Campus into a new Alternate Care Facility for COVID-19 patients. The facility is constructed to serve COVID-19 patients who do not require intensive care, to expand existing capacity in Chicago’s health care system.

Phase One of the project provided 500 10-by-10-foot patient rooms furnished with beds and basic healthcare items, 14 nursing stations and fully built out support rooms for medical supply storage, pharmacy and housekeeping services.

Medical personnel are already prepared to staff these first 500 beds, with nearly 140 contracted individuals and counting from around Illinois and the nation. By the end of April, the full site will bring an additional 3,000 patient rooms online. Hundreds more health care professionals will be added as the facility takes shape.

3:15PM THURSDAY, APRIL 2

Chicago Police Officer Dies; 16 Deaths Reported Thursday

 

A Chicago police officer is among the Illinoisans who have died from complications related to the coronavirus.

It appears that 21-year police veteran Marco Di Franco was not among the 16 new deaths reported by the IDPH today. Di Franco was 50 years old, but none of the COVID-19 victims in today’s IDPH report was a male in his 50s.

Di Franco was a member of CPD’s narcotics team. He leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 7 and 10, according to WGN.

The IDPH on Thursday reported 715 new cases of coronavirus disease — fewer than yesterday’s high of 986 new cases.

The list of COVID-19 deaths includes:

  • Christian County: 1 male 80s
  • Cook County: 1 male 30s, 1 female 40s, 1 male 40s, 2 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 4 male 70s, 1 male 80s
  • DuPage County: 1 female 80s
  • McHenry County: 1 male 60s
  • Whiteside County: 1 female 90s

IDPH is reporting a total of 7,695 cases, including 157 deaths, in 61 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than 1 to older than 100 years.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

3:15PM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1

Public Health Officials Announce 986 New Cases of Coronavirus Disease

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 986 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 42 additional deaths.

  • Carroll County: 1 male 80s
  • Cook County: 1 male 20s, 2 males 30s, 2 males 40s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 50s, 3 males 60s, 2 females 60s, 5 males 70s, 3 females 70s, 3 male 80s, 4 females 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 female 100s. (5 incomplete data)
  • DuPage County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s
  • Kane County: 1 female 90s
  • Lake County: 1 male 50s
  • Sangamon County: 1 male 90s
  • Will County: 1 male 60s
  • Winnebago County: 1 male 60s

 

Massac and Vermilion counties are now reporting cases.  Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 6,980 cases, including 141 deaths, in 56 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

*All data is provisional and will change.

3PM TUESDAY, MARCH 31

Gov Extends Stay At Home Order To End of April

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker today extended the state’s stay-at-home order through the end of April.

The extension of the Stay at Home order will continue to permit a range of essential activities that will allow Illinoisans to meet their necessities while maintaining social distance from others. Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other businesses providing services deemed essential will not close.

Staying at home and social distancing are the paramount strategies for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Every Illinoisan plays a role in ensuring our health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care.

As of March 30, preliminary reports from hospitals statewide show that 41 percent of our adult ICU beds are “empty”, which means they are staffed and ready for immediate patient use, a 2-percentage-point decrease in a week. As far as ventilators, 68% are available statewide across Illinois, a four-percentage point drop in a week.

Statewide, about 35 percent of our total ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients and about 24 percent of our total ventilators are occupied by COVID patients. The state remains within its capacity, and is working every day to increase its capacity to prepare for an anticipated surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure. The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

Deaths Close in on 100; Infant’s Death Still Under Investigation

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 937 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including 26 additional deaths.

Health officials are talking with the family to discuss the entire medical history of the infant who died. The investigation is ongoing, Dr. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

The infant was 9 months old and from Cook County, according to reports.

Kane County Coroner Rob Russell reported the seventh Kane County death in his report yesterday.

These are the deaths reported today by IDPH:

  • Cook County: 2 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 2 female 60s, 5 males 70s, 2 females 70s, 3 male 80s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
  • DuPage County: 2 females 70s
  • Kane County: 1 male 80s
  • Lake County: 1 female 60s
  • McLean County: 1 male 70s
  • Morgan County: 1 male 80s
  • St. Clair County: 1 female 30s
  • Will County: 1 male 80s, 1 female 80

Ford and Ogle counties are now reporting cases.  Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 5,994 cases, including 99 deaths, in 54 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

10:30AM TUESDAY, MARCH 31

Chicago Opens Hotel Rooms To First Responders

Saying that “we are at a critical time” in the battle against COVID-19, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this morning that Chicago will be providing hotel rooms for first responders.

“This is a surge we know is coming,” Lightfoot said. “We need to do everything we can to relieve the pressure.”

8AM TUESDAY, MARCH 31

Former Elgin Hospital Site Will Serve as Field Hospital

3PM MONDAY, MARCH 30

Number of Cases Passes 5,000 Statewide, 72 Total Deaths

The Illinois Department of Public Health today reported 461 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois.  Seven new deaths are also being reported, including the death of an incarcerated man from Stateville Correctional Center.

  • Cook County: male 50s, male 60s, female 60s, female 70s
  • DuPage County: male 60s
  • Kendal County: female 60s
  • Will County: male 50s, male 60s

Additionally, 12 men who were incarcerated at Stateville are now hospitalized, including several requiring ventilators. There are 77 more incarcerated individuals with symptoms who are isolated at the facility. Eleven staff are also being isolated.

The Illinois Department of Corrections is taking a number of steps to control the spread of COVID-19 in its correctional centers. Staff who work with individuals in isolation and quarantine, as well as in the health center, are wearing full personal protective equipment  and all staff are wearing some PPE. Staff are also having their temperature checked daily as they enter the facility.

Correctional centers with a confirmed case are placed on lockdown, which means there is no movement around the facility except for medical care.  Incarcerated individuals who show symptoms are being tested.

Clark, Crawford, Marion, Randolph, and Saline counties are now reporting cases. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 5,057 cases, including 73 deaths, in 52 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.  Medically trained professionals able to volunteer are asked to sign up at www.illinoishelps.net.

McCormick Place Beds Will Be Used For Non-Acute COVID Cases

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker today announced that McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago will be used to add capacity of hundreds of beds and COVID-19 bed capacity will be added at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin if needed during the COVID-19 emergency.

The additional capacity at McCormick Place will build on efforts taken by the state and city to aid in the response to COVID-19 related cases by relieving pressure on the hospital system by freeing up beds for more patients with severe COVID-19 cases in anticipation of the surge in positive COVID-19 diagnoses to come.

The state and city are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to build the temporary healthcare setting at McCormick Place to serve patients with low to mild acuity, but may still need medical attention prior to returning to their place of residence.

Over the next several weeks, the McCormick Place campus will be transformed into an alternative medical facility treating those with COVID-19. The buildout will take place in phases, with up to 500 beds expected to be assembled by the end of this week.

Thirty Airmen from the Illinois National Guard were activated to assist with the general labor associated with the project. The buildout of the facility will be supported by $15 million in federal funding from FEMA to support the Army Corps’ construction plan.

Officials said they are anticipating a surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks based on the newest data and trends seen in other large cities. In Illinois and across the country, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, placing additional stress on local healthcare facilities. The space at McCormick will transition back into its original use when additional medical care facilities are no longer needed.

Additionally, the state and city are working to create temporary bed capacity at MetroSouth Hospital in Blue Island and the state is working to create temporary COVID-19 bed capacity at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

3:23PM SUNDAY, MARCH 29

31 Deaths, Including 1 Infant Over Weekend

An infant is among the 31 COVID-19-related deaths reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health over the weekend.

The infant was 9 months old and from Cook County, according to reports.

“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.”

The death toll in Kane County is now at six, with four deaths reported over the weekend. See the COVID-19 KANE COUNTY landing page for additional information.

As testing increases so do the number of confirmed cases reported by the IDPH.

Over the weekend, the IDPH reported 465 new cases on Saturday and 1,105 new cases on Sunday. The death totals were 13 reported Saturday and 18 additional deaths on Sunday.

On Sunday, Gov. JB Pritzker also announced the expansion of testing in Illinois, including the addition of testing sites and a test created at Argonne that has promise. This article will be updated later this afternoon.

Sunday Totals From The IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday announced 1,105 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 18 additional deaths.

  • Cook County: male 50s, 2 females 60s, 2 males 70s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 80s, female 80s
  • DuPage County: male 60s
  • Kane County: male 40s, 2 males 90s
  • Kendal County: male 60s
  • LaSalle County: male 80s
  • St. Clair County: female 70s

Saturday Totals From The IDPH

On Saturday, IDPH reported 465 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 13 new deaths.

  • Cook County: infant, 2 males 60s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 70s, female 80s, male 80s
  • McHenry County: male 50s
  • Kane County: 2 males 70s
  • Lake County: female 90s
  • Will County: female 90s

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

State Ups Testing

Illinois will soon more than double the number of COVID-19 tests it can administer each day as the number of cases in the state surged.

Pritzker said Sunday that the state will increase its testing capacity from 4,000 a day currently to 10,000 within days.

He said the state is adding more workers to its labs and technology to make the increase.

The Illinois EPA announced Saturday that Medline Industries, Inc. in Waukegan has successfully completed the required compliance testing pursuant to P.A. 101-22, also known as the Matt Haller Act, and an Illinois EPA construction permit.

The testing regime included the facility’s negative pressure system, continuous emissions monitoring system, and stack emissions. The testing was conducted by a third-party contractor, and Illinois EPA was on-site to monitor and ensure that all testing was conducted according to all applicable standards.

3:05PM FRIDAY, MARCH 27

The state is reporting eight new deaths today, including one from Kane County.

The total number of cases statewide is 3,026 —an increase of 488. The total number of positive cases in Kane County is 75.

The state has created at new website where healthcare providers and anyone in the medical profession can sign in for access during an emergency situation, Gov. JB Pritzker announced at this afternoon’s news conference.

The state received another shipment of masks and personal protective equipment.

IDPH Daily Report

About 86% of fatalities are among patients 60 years of age and older.

Bureau, Henry, and Iroquois counties are now reporting cases.

Presently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,026 cases, including 34 deaths, in 40 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

Confirmed Cases by Race

  • White – 39%
  • Black – 28%
  • Left blank – 20%
  • Other – 9%
  • Asian – 4%

Confirmed Cases by Ethnicity

  • Not Hispanic or Latino – 60%
  • Left blank – 33%
  • Hispanic or Latino – 7%

For all personal protective equipment donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

3:30PM THURSDAY, MARCH 26

673 New Cases, 7 New Deaths Reported Today

Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at today’s news conference that there are 673 new cases and seven new deaths due to COVID-19.

That brings the state totals to 2,538 cases and 26 deaths.

The seven new deaths include a man in his 50s, two men and two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s, and a woman in her 90s. About 87% of fatalities are among patient 60 years of age and older.

Franklin and Tazewell counties are now reporting cases.

Confirmed Cases by Race

  • White – 40%
  • Black – 28%
  • Other – 9%
  • Asian – 4%
  • Left blank – 19%

Confirmed Cases by Ethnicity

  • Hispanic or Latino – 7%
  • Not Hispanic or Latino – 61%
  • Left blank – 32%

For all personal protective equipment donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

State, Non-Profits Launch Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund

The state of Illinois joined the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations today to announce the launch of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, a new statewide fundraising effort to support nonprofit organizations serving those whose lives have been upended by this pandemic.

Working with other local response efforts that have been created in recent days, the ICRF will focus on filling Illinois residents’ most basic needs, including:

  • Emergency food and basic supplies
  • Interim housing and shelter
  • Primary health care services
  • Utility and financial assistance
  • Supports for children and other vulnerable populations
  • Nonprofit safety and operations assistance

More information can be found at www.ilcovidresponsefund.org.

1:50PM THURSDAY, MARCH 26

11:45AM THURSDAY, MARCH 26

Tribune Reports 110,000 Illinoisans Applied for Unemployment

During a year when we’ve seen one headline after the next talking about record unemployment, the numbers coming in this week are eye-popping.

Nearly 115,000 Illinoisans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Chicago Tribune reports.

4PM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

330 New Cases, 3 New Deaths Include Kane County Man

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 330 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including three deaths; a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s, and a Will County woman in her 50s.

Douglas, Marshall, and Morgan counties are now reporting cases. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,865 cases in 35 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

Two correctional officers and one man incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive as well as a contractual worker at Sheridan Correctional Center.

The two Stateville correctional officers are recovering at home and the individual who is incarcerated is isolated and recovering in the hospital. Those who have been identified as being potentially exposed are being quarantined and the facility is on a 14-day lockdown.

After consulting with IDPH, the Department of Corrections determined staff and men incarcerated at the Sheridan facility were at low to medium risk for potential exposure. The facility also was placed on a 14-day lockdown.

For updates on IDOC’s response to COVID-19,visit https://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/facilities/Pages/Covid19Response.aspx

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Gov Announces More Help For Businesses

Gov. JB Pritzker announced today that Illinois’ Tax Day officially has been moved to July 15, in concert with the new deadline date for the federal government.

The governor also announced additional help for businesses.

INCOME TAX FILING & PAYMENT EXTENSION

The state is extending the income tax filing and payment deadline by three months, from April 15 to July 15. The Department of Revenue will continue to process tax refunds for those filing ahead of the new deadline.

According to IDOR, 3.4 million Illinoisans have already filed their income taxes to date, over 72% of whom are expecting a refund this year. Last year, 6.2 million income tax returns were filed, and 88% of taxpayers filed electronically.

The fastest, most secure way to receive a refund is to file tax returns electronically and request a direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Taxpayers who have already filed a return can check the status of their return by using the Where’s My Refund? link located at www.MyTax.Illinois.Gov.

MORE THAN $90 MILLION IN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The state is offering a new package of emergency assistance programs for small businesses in need of additional capital, totaling more than $90 million. Illinois businesses will be able to apply to these programs on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

This $60 million fund will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago.

Applications will be available on DCEO’s website by Friday, March 27.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

This new $20 million program supports small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses in communities served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development.

These grants will offer businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. The program redeploys Community Development Block Grant funds to support local small businesses.

Applications will be available on DCEO’s website by Friday, March 27. The grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

This new $14 million grant program aims to help small hospitality businesses make ends meet, providing up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

These grants are available to support working capital – like payroll and rent – job training and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery.

Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000. The program repurposes job training and tourism promotion funds to provide this emergency grant assistance.

Applications are available today on DCEO’s website and are due by April 1 at 5 p.m. All valid, eligible applications received within the five-day window will be entered into a lottery, and grant winners will be notified on April 4.

1:45PM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

Lightfoot Says Stop Crowding at Lakefront

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot went on TV today to tell Chicagoans to stop congregating at the lake shore and other outdoor places.

9:30AM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

Kane County is earning an A on the Social Distancing Scoreboard.

Unacast, a company that uses GPS technology to roughly measure whether people are actually heeding the advice of officials asking us to flatten the curve, is giving Kane County and the state of Illinois high marks.

Kane County Health Department Epidemiologist Louise Lie says it is vitally important for Kane County residents to obey the statewide “stay at home” order.

According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, social distancing is currently the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The scores were determined by the change in average distance traveled compared with before the coronavirus outbreak. If residents are staying put aside from the occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, the dip in travel would be apparent in the data.

6:40PM TUESDAY, MARCH 24

1st Kane COVID-19 Death Is In Aurora

The city of Aurora has confirmed, through the Kane County Health Department, the unfortunate first death due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to a city of Aurora news release, male in his 90s succumbed to COVID-19 complications yesterday after being diagnosed just two days prior.

“This is heartbreaking news for the family and for our community,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “We extended our condolences and prayers to his family during this time of bereavement.”

Aurora has three other positives cases, which were confirmed over the weekend, including a woman in her 20s, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 50s. Confirmations are provided to the City by the local health departments and no further details are available for release.

“We’ve been preparing for the inevitable news that COVID-19 is here and spreading,” said Mayor Irvin. “This weekend brought us news of confirmed cases, including residents and one of our APD supervisors, and the sad passing of one of our senior citizens. This is real, and we must all continue to do our part to stop the spread.”

Confirmed cases and deaths in Illinois continue to grow each day, with the most recent report of 1,535 confirmed cases and 16 deaths in the state.

“These men and women represent families, communities and friendship groups,” said Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Their lives mattered. Prayers of comfort to those that mourn that loss.”

The city of Aurora’s COVID-19 resource site is updated daily at www.aurora-il.org/health.

State Adds Drive-Thru Testing, Hospital Capacity

The state of Illinois today announced a “two-pronged” attack against the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it will add testing sites and is developing a plan to add hospital beds.

The Illinois National Guard opened the state’s first drive-through COVID-19 testing site on the northwest side of Chicago, adding 250 tests a day to the state’s capacity. The site is located at 6959 W. Forest Preserve Road in Chicago, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. daily, unless testing capacity is met earlier in the day. More than 130 Illinois National Guardsmen are currently supporting the state’s response to COVID-19.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has opened three sites with their private partners throughout the Chicago suburbs – one in Cook County and two in Will County. Each has the capacity to run nearly a 100 tests a day, and up to 250 with expanded staffing. These testing sites are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Walmart: 137 East North Avenue, Northlake
  • Walmart: 2424 West Jefferson, Joliet
  • Walgreens: 695 West Boughton Road, Bolingbrook

All four of the mobile testing sites operate under U.S. HHS criteria which prioritizes health care workers and first responders. As availability allows, testing criteria may be expanded beyond this initial pilot program.

Hospital Capacity

Hospitals across the state are meeting the current need, and the state is building additional capacity to treat patients that may need care in the future.

As of March 23, data reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) showed 12,588 non-ICU beds, 1,106 ICU beds and 1,595 ventilators available in hospitals across the state. The current capacity of the state’s health care system as of is shown in the table below.

Non-ICU Beds

ICU Beds

Ventilators

In Use

13,437

1,488

634

Available

12,588

1,106

1,595

Total

26,025

2,594

2,229

% occupied

51.6%

57.4%

28.4%

Looking ahead, IDPH has put together projections for the hospital infrastructure needed to meet a surge of demand on the health care system if no protective measures were put in place — the worst-case scenario. Given that Gov. Pritzker has instituted a variety of mitigation and suppression methods over the last two weeks, the anticipated need will likely fall below these forecasts.

On March 30, IDPH projected that hospitals across the state would need an additional 2,511 non-ICU beds, 837 ICU beds and 419 ventilators compared to current capacity if the state took no action to combat the virus.

250 New Cases, 4 New Deaths; 1st DuPage Death

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 250 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including four deaths; a Chicago resident in his 50s, two Cook County residents both in their 60s, and a DuPage County resident in her 90s.

Grundy County is now reporting a case. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,535 cases in 32 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

For all personal protective equipment donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

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5PM MONDAY, MARCH 23

State: 236 New Cases, 3 New Deaths in Cook

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 236 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including three deaths in Cook County; two men in their 80s and a man in his 90s.

There are 18 total confirmed cases in Kane County, according to the IDPH website.

Monroe is now also reporting a case. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,285 cases in 31 counties in Illinois.

The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

STATE PURCHASES MILLIONS OF UNITS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Gov. JB Pritzker announced today that the state has executed contracts to purchase 2.5 million N95 masks, 1 million disposable surgical masks, 11,000 gloves and 10,000 personal protection kits.

While medical facilities across the state do have their own stocks of PPE and uses their own vendors to source additional PPE, the administration’s procurement effort aims to supplement their existing supply during this period of heightened need.

5PM SUNDAY, MARCH 22

Public Health Officials Announce 296 New Cases of Coronavirus Disease on Sunday

The Illinois Department of Public Health today (Sunday, March 22) announced 296 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including an infant. IDPH also announced three deaths.

The deaths included a Cook County man in his 80s, a Chicago man in his 80s, and a McLean County woman in her 70s.

Jo Daviess, Livingston, Rock Island, and Stephenson counties are now also reporting cases. Presently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,049 cases in 30 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years.

Health officials are still learning about this new virus and information and guidance is rapidly evolving. At this time, it is still unknown if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk.

The IDPH reported 168 new cases on Saturday, bringing the weekend total to 464.

Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

For donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.  For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

UPDATED 8:15PM FRIDAY, MARCH 20

Gov. JB Pritzker today announced a “stay at home” order.

Like other states, the order will mean residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs. All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic, as well.

The statewide stay at home order aims to keep new cases of COVID-19 from rapidly increasing and ensure the state’s health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care.

The order takes effect 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020. In addition to the stay at home provisions, it orders all local government units across the state to halt all evictions and bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

“W“I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods,” Pritzker said. “But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life.”

THE SCIENCE

The governor says he has consulted with medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers and looked closely at the trajectory of coronavirus in countries like Italy and China.

“It is clear that left unchecked, cases in Illinois will rise rapidly and mirror the consequences experienced by other countries,” the state news release said. “Hospital systems would be overwhelmed, protective equipment would become scarce, and there would not be enough health care workers, hospital beds, or ventilators for the influx of sick patients.”

STAY AT HOME ORDER

All first responders, emergency management personnel, law enforcement personnel, health care workers and others working to support Essential Businesses and Essential Government Functions like grocery stores and pharmacies are exempt from this stay at home order.

The governor’s action today formalizes his calls this week for Illinoisans to stay home as much as possible, aside from meeting their basic needs. In that regard, the stay at home order permits a range of activities that will allow Illinoisans to get their necessities while maintaining social distance from others, which include but are not limited to:

Essential Activities:

  • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional
  • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences
  • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds
  • For certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations
  • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

Essential Government Functions:

  • All services provided by state and local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public
  • This Executive Order does not apply to the United States government

Essential Businesses and Operations:

• Healthcare and Public Health Operations: Working at or obtaining services from hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities; healthcare manufacturers and suppliers; blood banks; medical cannabis facilities; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; ancillary healthcare services — including veterinary care and excluding fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities
• Human Services Operations: any provider funded by DHS, DCFS or Medicaid; long-term care facilities; home-based and residential settings for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with disabilities or mental illness; transitional facilities; field offices for food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services or rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals — excluding day care centers, day care homes, group day care homes and day care centers licensed as specified in Section 12(s) of the order
• Essential Infrastructure: Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
• Stores that sell groceries and medicine
• Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
• Organizations that provide charitable and social services
• Media
• Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
• Financial institutions
• Hardware and supply stores

• Critical trades, includingplumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
• Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
• Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
• Laundry services
• Restaurants for consumption off-premises
• Supplies to work from home
• Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
• Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
• Home-based care and services
• Residential facilities and shelters
• Professional services
• Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order
• Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
• Critical labor union functions

• Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
• Funeral services

All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Minimum Basic Operations includes the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of inventory, preserve plant and equipment condition, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits and facilitate employees working remotely.

The order also closes licensed child care centers and all childcare homes serving more than six children. The Pritzker administration is working to expand the availability of child care for essential workers, while protecting the health of the children and child care teachers and home providers. A new Emergency Child Care Center license is being created with more flexibility but much smaller group sizes to ensure social distancing for children in care.

Only essential travel is permitted at this time and must be done in accordance with social distancing requirements. That includes travel related to:

  • Performing Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations or Minimum Basic Operations
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons
  • Receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services from an educational institution
  • Returning to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
  • Returning to a place of residence outside the State for non-residents

In addition to halting evictions statewide, the Governor is directing additional resources to organizations across the state to serve those experiencing homelessness.

For those whose residence is or becomes an unsafe place, please call the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-877-863-6338.

Finally, the Governor encourages Illinoisans to come together during this time of crisis and reminds the public that this is not a virus tied to a specific ethnic group or race. Suggesting otherwise – or engaging in acts of racism against a specific community – runs counter to our values.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE SICK

Every Illinoisan plays a role in ensuring our health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care.

If you are experiencing symptoms of any illness, including COVID-19, the first thing you should do is:

Call a health care provider, like your primary care physician or a health clinic. But please, do not walk directly into an emergency room or a doctor’s office.

A health care provider will ask about your symptoms and potential exposures. If they think you need medical care, they will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

If you meet certain criteria, you may be tested for COVID-19, but as testing expands, those with severe illness and those at higher risk of complications are being prioritized.

People whose symptoms are mild — which will be most people — will be able to isolate at home during their illness, and they should follow the directives of their health care providers.

For health-related inquiries, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health by calling 1-800-889-3931 or visiting IDPH.illinois.gov.

IDPH: 163 New Cases, 1 New Death in Cook County Friday

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 163 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including the death of a Cook County woman in her 70s. Three additional counties are now reporting cases; Adams, Christian, and McLean counties.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 585 cases in 25 counties in Illinois.  Cases have occurred in ages 3 to 99. Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

As the number of COVID-19 cases being reported continues to rise significantly each day, the State of Illinois is working to increase testing capacity by working with Illinois hospitals to implement testing within their facilities.

Additionally, the State is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens to set up drive-thru testing sites in the hardest hit areas of the state.

These facilities will focus on senior citizens, first responders, and health care workers.

Hospital capacity is another area we are focusing on by identifying resources and ways to increase our bed capacity in Illinois to treat those who contract the novel coronavirus.

The state has been working with other jurisdictions and businesses to re-open recently closed hospitals.

IDPH is currently doing assessments at four hospitals in Illinois to determine the current condition of the facility, medical resources available, staffing levels, and what else is needed to open these facilities in order to provide medical care for individuals with COVID-19.

IDPH: COVID-19 in Illinois Test Results

Important Links

CDC: What You Should Know

PREVIOUS POSTS

UPDATED 8:30AM FRIDAY, MARCH 20

Here’s a quick AM update as we head into Friday.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stopped short of issuing a “shelter in place” order, but she did ask people with COVID-19 symptoms — cough, fever, body aches, or a sore throat — to stay home.
  • A shelter-in-place order is now in effect in Oak Park, a move that perhaps foreshadows the stringent rules the entire state of Illinois.
  • Metra announced new schedules, starting Monday. The alternate schedules can be viewed here.

The state’s daily updates usually take place around 2:30 p.m., so tune in this afternoon for that info.

UPDATED 15:50PM THURSDAY, MARCH 19

Gov. JB Pritzker announced three new deaths at the state’s daily COVID-19 news conference.

According to the state’s interactive map (screenshot above), there are now six confirmed cases in Kane County. There are now 422 cases in Illinois in 22 counties.

Cases have occurred in people ages 9 to 99, officials said. Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

The number of COVID-19 cases being reported is rising quickly, partly because of the increase in testing by commercial and hospital laboratories.

Because testing is becoming more available in these labs, IDPH will prioritize testing for our most vulnerable populations, such as those who work or live in nursing homes and other congregate facilities. Once a case in these locations is confirmed, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, testing of all residents and staff without symptoms is not recommended.

Pritzker announced a series of new measures to relieve pressure on small businesses, increase safe opportunities for vulnerable populations to purchase essentials and expand health care services for patients and providers.

SALES TAX DEFERRAL, LOANS FOR BARS AND RESTAURANTS

The Department of Revenue will defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants — accounting for nearly 80% of all such entities statewide.

Under the directive, eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. The Department of Revenue estimates this will give relief to nearly 80% of bars and restaurants in Illinois.

Penalties and interest will be automatically waived; however, qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return even if they are unable to make a payment.

Any taxpayers taking advantage of this relief will be required to pay their sales tax liabilities due in March, April and May in four installments starting on May 20 and extending through August 20. For more information, please view IDOR’s informational bulletin available at tax.illinois.gov.

SBA APPROVES SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN ILLINOIS

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov

NEW GROCERY STORE HOURS FOR OLDER RESIDENTS

A growing coalition of grocery stores statewide will set aside one or more hours of operation for older residents to shop, before stores open to the general public.

Among the grocers with new hours for elderly shoppers are Whole Foods and Shop & Save in the Chicago area and Hy-Vee and Valli Produce throughout Illinois.

EXPANDING HEALTH CARE SERVICES

The state is implementing several measures to remove regulatory barriers for health providers and increase opportunity for patients as Illinoisans are urged to stay home as much as possible during this time.

Illinois has relaxed rules around telemedicine for both Medicaid and private insurers, allowing more providers to get reimbursed for these services that allow patients more flexibility and safety. For plans regulated by the Department of Insurance, the executive order calls for providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits and prohibits private health insurers from imposing any cost-sharing for in-network providers.

For Medicaid, the emergency rules also require providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has filed an 1135 waiver with the federal government to remove administrative barriers for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Pritzker administration is seeking to increase access to telehealth and the number of health care providers that can screen patients, allow 90-day prescription supplies without prior authorization and early refills, as well as several other items that will increase flexibility and provide additional resources.

The Department of Human Services has also filed a federal waiver to ease eligibility requirements for food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC, which cover 1.8 million Illinoisans and 174,000 pregnant women and parents of young children respectively.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES WILL REMAIN

Pritzker assured Illinoisans that essential services will always remain open, including but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations.

ILLINOISANS: STAY HOME

Social distancing is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The Governor continues to make tough calls to keep Illinoisans safe, including mandating that events of 50 people or more be canceled, suspending dine-in operations of bars and restaurants and temporarily closing public and private K-12 schools. Public health officials continue to urge Illinoisans to stay home as much as possible.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

UPDATED 2:02PM THURSDAY, MARCH 19

Department of Human Services Closes Until April

Today, the Illinois Department of Human Services announces that all Division of Rehabilitation Services’ (DRS) Offices will close until early April and all Family Community Resource Centers (will remain open with reduced staff to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus situation.

While there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus among IDHS employees, out of an abundance of caution, starting today, IDHS is taking action regarding 45 DRS’ offices and 75 FCRCs. DRS’ offices are expected to reopen in early April, and FCRCs will have a reduced workforce of 30-50% staff working from the public-facing offices.

Many of the staff who are not working at the public-facing offices will be working remotely and still able to process important benefits.

DRS’ customers can reach their local offices through the regular office phone numbers that can be found on the IDHS Website Office Locator at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?module=12 or online at www.DRS.illinois.gov.

State Lifts Requirements for Licensees

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced measures to help professional licensees and education providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department has issued a series of variances that provide relief from the provisions of certain Administrative Rules pertaining to license renewal terms and to continuing education requirements. The five Variances may be found here.

Any professional licenses issued by the department that have renewal dates between March 1, 2020 through and including July 31, 2020 are granted an automatic extension to renew to Sept. 30, 2020.

Director of the Division of Real Estate Mario Treto, Jr., said five state variances help alleviate some of the obstacles licensees face.

Under the measures, all massage therapy schools are permitted to offer on-line instruction for their lecture-based, non-hands-on courses and all cosmetology schools are permitted to teach online theory courses above the current 10% hour limitation for students who are graduating on or before July 31, 2020.

For a complete list of professions that are affected by this renewal extension, please click here.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release

Message From the State’s Attorney’s Office

UPDATED 8:15PM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18

Kane Sees 4th Case

The state of Illinois reported Kane County’s fourth COVID-19 case today, according to the new interactive map offered by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

IDPH introduced the new map this afternoon.

Earlier in the day, IDPH announced 128 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois. Two additional counties are now reporting cases: Kendall and Madison counties.

As of March 18, there are four cases reported in Kane County. There have been 160 cases and one death in Illinois.

An additional 20 individuals at the long-term care facility in DuPage County experiencing an outbreak have tested positive, bringing the total to 42 (30 residents and 12 staff).

Presently, IDPH is reporting 288 cases in 17 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 99. Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments that will have the most up to date information.

Social distancing measures everyone can take include:

  • Staying home as much as possible
  • If gatherings are necessary, limiting the number of people to 10
  • Calling to check on family, neighbors, and older adults instead of visiting
  • Checking with your provider about telehealth options

For information on actions you, your school, workplace, and community can take, please visit Steps to Stay Safe from COVID-19.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

New Web Resource: coronavirus.illinois.gov

The state today introduced a new website at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

In another effort to provide timely and accurate information to the public, Coronavirus.illinois.gov centralizes the breaking updates from state government, prevention and preparation tips, frequently asked questions and resources from public health experts.

  • News: The latest announcements from the Governor’s Office and state agencies on the evolving response to COVID-19.
  • Prevention: Tips to keep safe and healthy practices at home, in the office, in long term care facilities, in homeless shelters, around local neighborhoods and during day-to-day activities.
  • Preparation: How to take effective actions to plan for a situation where you may get sick, such as implementing family action plans, and what to do if you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • FAQs: Answers to general questions on COVID-19 and more specific questions related to education and unemployment.
  • Resources: Guidance from experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and crucial information for both families and medical providers.
  • About Coronavirus: What is coronavirus? Instructions on what individuals can do to protect themselves and help prevent community spread.

ILLINOISANS: STAY HOME

Social distancing is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The Governor continues to make tough calls to keep Illinoisans safe, including mandating that events of 50 people or more be canceled, suspending dine-in operations of bars and restaurants and temporarily closing public and private K-12 schools.

Public health officials continue to urge Illinoisans to stay home as much as possible.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

PAST POSTS

UPDATED 3:20PM TUESDAY, MARCH 17

SOURCE: State of Illinois news release

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the first death of an Illinois resident who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The individual was a Chicago resident in her 60s who tested positive earlier this month and had contact with a known COVID-19 case.

“I am deeply saddened by the news that we’ve dreaded since the earliest days of this outbreak: the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “There are going to be moments during the next few weeks and months when this burden feels like it is more than we can bear‚ this is one of those moments, but we will get through this together.”

IDPH announced this past weekend the first resident in a long-term care in Illinois to test positive for COVID-19. Following aggressive testing at the facility, IDPH has now confirmed an additional 21 cases at the facility, 17 residents and four staff.

“In addition to the death we are sad to report today, we are also reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Residents in nursing homes are our most vulnerable population and we are doing everything we can to protect them.  We may see cases in other long-term care facilities, which is why it is so important that we all do our part to reduce possible exposure in the community to those who go in and out of these facilities as they provide care to resident.”

Updated guidance for nursing homes:

  • Restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life residents
  • Restrict all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel (e.g., barbers)
  • Cancel all group activities and communal dining
  • Implement active screening of residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms

Additional guidance for long-term care facilities is on the IDPH website.

Currently, IDPH is reporting 160 cases in 15 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 91. Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments.

For information on actions you, your school, workplace, and community can take, please visit Steps to Stay Safe from COVID-19.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Kane County Declares Emergency

Click on the box above or here to read more on the Kane County Emergency Declaration.

UPDATE FROM 3:45PM MONDAY, MARCH 16

Kane County Health Department Director Barb Jeffers said Monday that Kane County has seen its third confirmed case of coronavirus.

Jeffers said the person is being treated in Chicago, but ultimately the case will be officially counted as originating in Kane County. No other information on that patient is available.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health today (Monday, March 16) announced 12 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois. Two additional counties are now reporting cases, Peoria and Will counties.

Other locations with cases include Chicago and Champaign, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon, St. Clair, Whiteside, Winnebago, and  Woodford counties.

“We know there is a lot of concern as the number of cases and locations increase,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “However, not everyone who has respiratory symptoms like cough and shortness of breath needs to be tested.  Similarly, not everyone who is infected with novel coronavirus needs medical treatment.  We want to make sure those at higher risk of severe illness are prioritized for testing and that they can receive the medical care they need.  We ask those who have mild symptoms to stay home so the health care system is not overwhelmed.”

Information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, state officials said.

However, older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness.

“It is crucial that we limit contact with older people and those with certain health conditions,” state officials said.

Currently, IDPH is reporting 105 cases in 15 counties in Illinois.  Cases have occurred in all age ranges and the number of cases that do not have a clear connection to travel or a known COVID-19 case is increasing.

Social distancing measures, such as working from home when possible, limiting the amount of time spent in the community, and trying to avoid public transportation as much as possible, will help reduce the number of people who become sick at any given time and the possibility of exhausting our health care resources.

For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

A list of local health departments can be found on the IDPH website.

Sunday, March 15, UPDATE

Gov. JB Pritzker announced around 3 p.m. Sunday (March 15, 2020) that the state will mandate the closing of all bars and restaurants starting Monday, March 16, and continuing through March 30, in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Restaurant drive-through and delivery will stay open, according to the Chicago Tribune and other media sources.

The govenor said that Tuesday’s primary election will move forward, but voters should expect to wait outside if there are crowds, in order to ensure social distancing.

The restaurant and bar closures will go into effect at the end of business Monday.

“This is another hard step to take. I know how difficult this will be on small businesses around the state,” Pritzker said. “But we must do everything we can to safeguard the health of the citizens of Illinois, and that requires this urgent action. The time for persuasion and public appeals is over — the time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people of this state.”

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said the state is working closely with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure kitchens can safely remain open to continue food delivery and put in place drive-through and curbside pickup options for restaurants to continue to serve the public.

Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said public safety is his organization’s No. 1 concern.

“We remain vigilant in helping employers to navigate the immediate challenges that come with this rapidly changing situation,” he said.

 State Will Reduce Government Workforce

The governor directed state agencies to implement plans for a temporary reduction of government functions and workforce while maintaining core functions and essential operations.

Select employees will continue to report to work; while the remaining workforce will either work remotely or be asked to remain home on call while receiving pay. All state employees will continue to be paid during this period.

Over the next several days, the Pritzker administration will finalize these plans and update state employees and the public. The Office of the Governor will remain fully operational throughout this period.

Social Distancing ‘Crucial’

Social distancing is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the governor said.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

LOCAL COVID-19 NEWS

SCHOOL CLOSURES

The state is closing all K-12 schools in the state of Illinois from March 17 through March 30. Some Kane County schools have chosen to close Monday, May 16, and stay closed into April.

ECONOMIC MEASURES

The state announced new economic measures to reduce the burden on Illinois families.

Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois — including energy, telecommunications and water — until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted.

The state is requesting changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren’t saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19.

The governor is contacting the leaders of Illinois’ utility companies and urging them to maintain services for all Illinoisans, regardless of their ability to pay, during this public health crisis.

The state is working directly with the eight major food banks across Illinois to expand services. The administration is reaching out to food manufacturers to ensure food banks are prioritized and can provide our vulnerable residents the food they need.

Earlier this week, the administration filed emergency rules granting workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 access to unemployment benefits. The rules provide relief to people who may be restricted in the type of work they can perform due to the outbreak.

SOURCE: state of Illinois, IDPH

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