In a 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday, Illinois conducted nearly 30,000 coronavirus tests and confirmed another 4,014 cases of COVID-19.
Both were records for the state.
“The more you test, the more positive cases you find,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday afternoon. “If you don’t test, you have fewer cases.”
To date, 471,691 coronavirus tests have been processed, including a record 29,266 between Monday and Tuesday, according to officials. Across the state, 83,021 people have tested positive for the virus, and 3,601 deaths have been linked to it, including 144 deaths announced Tuesday.
“The battle against the coronavirus has been fought on two fronts: that of public health, of course, and to preserve the economy,” Pritzker said. “The damage this virus has done to jobs and businesses has really been devastating.”
While his administration has taken various measures to soften the economic blow COVID-19 has dealt to residents and businesses in the state, Pritzker says there’s more to do.
“The legislature must convene so that we can begin to put our financial and economic house back in order even as we battle this terrible virus,” he said. “The General Assembly needs to pass a comprehensive plan to support families, small businesses and small towns.
“Congress is looking to supporting the states, and we need to make sure we’re supporting the people who make our economy go,” Pritzker said, calling for rental assistance and mortgage forbearance for both individuals and businesses, among other things.
Until the General Assembly meets to consider those measures, Pritzker said he’ll continue to implement programs that are within the purview of his office.
“To that end, today I’m announcing a program to provide $25 million in DCEO (Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) grants to help local governments to jump-start public infrastructure programs for the summer construction season,” Pritzker said.
These grants are part of the $50 million Rebuild Illinois program and are being expedited to help cover local projects that may have been canceled due to revenue loss associated with COVID-19, according to the governor.
“This will keep key infrastructure programs in the pipeline, and will support the return of skilled labor to job sites for the busy summer season,” he said. “Starting today, local governments with shovel-ready projects – including school districts, townships and other entities – can apply for this funding.”
Eligible grantees are local governments and other public entities with significant public infrastructure projects that could commence work within 90 days of receiving award notice, according to the governor’s office.
Projects eligible for grant funding must be public assets, permanent in nature and must not have recurring project expenses. Projects must meet shovel-ready criteria, as well as the minority business participation requirements. For more information and to apply for the grants, visit the DCEO’s website.
Communities that need more time or don’t have projects that meet the criteria can submit an application and receive a grant for the remainder of the funds by June 30, according to the governor.
During his press briefing Tuesday, Pritzker also announced hospitals throughout the state have started receiving $75 million in new stability payments to help the fight against COVID-19.
“The last two months have made it exceptionally clear how critically important strengthening our hospital system is for communities across Illinois, not just in times of emergency but as a continuous source of medical support for our residents, as an employer and as a way to put an end to long-standing disparities in health care access and delivery,” Pritzker said.
The funds will help hospitals continue to provide essential COVID-19 services to their communities in the months ahead, according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
“We recognize that hospitals on the front lines against COVID-19 need support and they need it now,” said HFS Director Theresa Eagleson in a statement. “We’re incredibly thankful to the medical professionals who are serving Illinoisans during this public health crisis, and we are committed to doing all we can to help them.”
The stability payments are being issued in installments until July 1 through the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) partners.
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
—IDPH 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