Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling on all licensed health care professionals to join an emergency alert system that, when activated, would deploy them to areas of urgent need.
“Your fellow Illinoisans need you. Your state needs you,” Pritzker said during his press briefing Friday afternoon. He called on professionals from physicians to nurses, podiatrists and dentists – “anyone who’s made a career in medicine” – to sign up for the alert system.
“Together we truly can make a difference, and that difference will save lives,” he said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday announced 488 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing that total to 3,026. The IDPH reported eight new deaths, for a total of 34 across the state. Patients have ranged in age from under 12 months to 99 years old, according to officials.
Pritzker on Friday also announced additional measures to help individuals and families in need, including an increase in the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) and funding to support people experiencing homelessness.
Thanks to the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act and the state of Illinois’ requests for special waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Human Services is increasing monthly SNAP benefit amounts, expanding SNAP access and expediting process and flexibility, according to the governor's office.
SNAP feeds nearly 900,000 Illinois households and more than 1.7 million people across the state, according to Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou. “With the recent passage of the federal family first legislation, monthly SNAP will increase dramatically, in some cases by over 90% a month,” Hou said.
Under the new rules, a senior or individual with a disability who makes less than $2,000 a month will now receive $194 a month in SNAP benefits, Hou said, instead of the previous amount of $16 a month. Though IDHS offices are open, Hou encourages anyone in need to sign up online.
Pritzker also announced that $6 million in funding has been allocated to support homeless individuals through continuum of care programs. An additional $2 million will go toward housing and other services for people experiencing homelessness, according to Pritzker's office.
Child care providers who are assisting essential workers during this crisis will receive stipends, Pritzker also announced Friday. Licensed homes will receive $750, while centers with one to two classrooms open will receive $2,000 and centers with three or more classrooms open will receive $3,000. Applications for the stipends will be available on Monday through their local Child Care Resource and Referral agency, according to Pritzker’s office.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources
Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:
—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick
Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue
If you think you have COVID-19:
Call you doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.
—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
—Illinois’ COVID-19 website
—Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IPDH COVID-19 email link
—City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link