April 13, 2020 Update

I hope you and your family is staying healthy.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with emails, but some new projects are happening in Illinois.  I thought they may be of interest to you.  

COVID-19 Update:

Illinois reported 1,672 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, including 43 deaths. Illinois reported a total of 20,852 cases, including 720 deaths, in 86 counties. Sunday’s death total is the lowest it has been in the past six days and the number of new cases continues to remain fairly constant, which makes Governor Pritzker believe Illinois is starting to bend the curve. Governor Pritzker noted he is cautiously optimistic and encouraged Illinoisans to stay the course.  
Illinois’ current stay-at-home order expires April 30th. Pritzker has not committed to extending the order, but he continues to allude to the fact that any return to normal will be gradual and not happen until Illinois has adequate access to test, trace and treat. Pritzker continues to talk with scientists as well as industry leaders and business stakeholders about how to begin a phase-in to a return to normal.
Remote Patient Monitoring Program: Illinois launched a new Remote Patient Monitoring Program utilizing Telehealth Services and Pandemic Health Worker (PHW) Programs in partnership with OSF HealthCare and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The program is designed to safeguard hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, limit the spread of the virus, and digitally support those needing care.
PHWs will virtually visit recipients daily, deliver wellness kits, and follow-up over a 14-day period to ensure no further assistance is needed. Wellness kits will include items such as thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and alcohol wipes.

A person is eligible for the program if he or she is showing COVID-19 symptoms, or is at high risk for contracting the virus, but does not require emergency or inpatient care, and can be digitally monitored at home. A person must call the COVID-19 hotlines for a final determination of eligibility for the Pandemic Health Worker Program. 

Call4Calm: The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support.
Youth Town Hall: The Governor will

be co-hosting a virtual townhall meeting for youth of all ages Monday, April 13th at 5PM with the Center for Childhood Resilience, the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, and Mikva Challenge.

This townhall will directly reach Illinois youth to address their unique concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The townhall will be hosted through Facebook Live on the Lurie Children’s Hospital Facebook page  www.facebook.com/luriechildrens/.


Illinois testing capacity continues to increase. Over the past 24 hours, Illinois performed 7,956 tests, up from the 6,000 tests performed earlier in the week. Gov. Pritzker has a goal of 10,000 tests per day.
The federal government provided Illinois with 15 Abbott Labs rapid test machines. Machines will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 machines to the federally qualified health centers in the Chicago and Metro East areas.
  • 3 machines to the Illinois Department of Human Services facilities: the Ludeman Development Center in Park Forest, The Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee, and the Elgin Mental Health Center.
  • 5 machines to the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities: Stateville, Logan, Graham, Dixon and Menard.

The new state-run South Suburban drive thru testing center will open early next week in the Markham Harvey area.Illinois is partnering with Lurie Children’s Hospital and 4 FQHCs to run 400 specimens per day to be process by Lurie. Similarly, 3 locations in the Metro East will collect 470 specimens per day that will be processed by Anderson Hospital.Healthcare Disparities: The Illinois Department of Public Health created a COVID-19 Equity Team to serve as the voice and the informational hub on how to accurately address health disparities.

Alternate Housing: Governor Pritzker is developing alternative housing in communities of color to address some of these challenges of people who live in close communities, and who may be at risk or who have already been found to be positive. In total, 2,000 hotel rooms have been identified in the suburbs and Downstate. Alternate housing will be available for potential quarantine in Springfield, Rockford, the Metro East, the Quad Cities, Schaumburg, Mount Vernon, Carbondale, Marion, Macomb, Champaign and the collar counties.

Senior Meals: The Illinois Department on Aging is distributing $7 million throughout Illinois to meet the demand for meal assistance by older Illinoisans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department distributed the funds, provided through Emergency Assistance Services grants, to the state’s 46 Care Coordination Units to support meals programming for older Illinoisans at highest risk for malnutrition and hunger.

101st General Assembly:The Illinois General Assembly remains adjourned. Both chambers have convened working groups to help members work through and prioritize legislative action needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other items including the FY 21 budget. Working groups will meet via conference call and other online formats.
House Working groups and membership is here. Republican membership is pending. Senate working group membership is here.