COVID-19 Update

March 18, 2020

Today, in a daily media briefing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced 288 COVID-19 cases, up 128 since yesterday, in 17 counties statewide. Dr. Ezike said that unfortunately these numbers will go up and the state will experience many more deaths before it gets better.

Dr. Ezike said that she is concerned with the wellness of healthcare workers and that screening of those workers is taking place to keep people and patients safe. She also noted how important it is to keep hospital beds available for those who are critically ill. Those who can weather the illness out at home are encouraged to do so to ensure that hospital resources are not strained. Dr. Ezike wants to avoid a situation where decisions must be made on who receives care and who doesn’t.

The goal is to “break the cycle of disease transmission” by staying home.

The state of Illinois today launched a new website,, with the latest information and resources for the public.

According to reports, a Chicago City Hall worker has tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials believe that the employee did not contract the virus at work. Also, there are reports of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Three Crowns Park retirement community in Evanston.

Today, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced that the City of Chicago will be temporarily suspending debt collection practices and non-safety related citations and impounds, as well as penalties for late payment. This penalty relief package directs a temporary suspension of late fees and defaults on payment plans, including city tickets, utility bills, parking and red-light citations, booting and other non-public safety relates violations. Additionally, there will be no new interest accumulated on current compliance plans. These measures are to help reduce the financial impact of COVID-19 on city residents and take effect immediately today through April 30, 2020.

Mayor Lightfoot will hold a “State of the City” COVID-19 address on March 19 at 5 p.m.

On Thursday, March 19, the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will host a webinar at 10 a.m. for hospitals with inpatient psychiatric units for children/adolescents to discuss new protocols due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Pre-register for the webinar through the State of Illinois WebEx Portal.

The Illinois House of Representatives has cancelled its session scheduled for next week.

Today, President Trump said he would invoke a federal law—Defense Production Act—to give the president authority to have private industries expand production of critical materials to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

This afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed an $8.3 billion emergency aid package to help Americans suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The bill provides a 6.2% increase in the Federal Assistance Percentage Program (FMAP) for all states and territories. The House passed the measure late Monday and now heads to President Trump for his approval.

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures show a total of 7,038 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. in 54 states and U.S. territories. Ninety-seven deaths have been reported.

The latest release of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report covers the COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility in King County, Washington and discusses severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients from February through March.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a National Stakeholder Call on March 13, to update the healthcare community on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. The transcript and audio recording from that call is now available to download. Future CMS calls, transcripts and audio recordings will be posted on that page as they become available.

Telligen will hold a COVID-19 Prevention and Preparedness webinar for nursing home providers on March 19 from 3-4 p.m. CT. This webinar will be interactive and will provide nursing home personnel and infection preventionists the opportunity to share challenges and ask questions in regards to implementing current guidance. Click here for more information and to register.

The latest WHO situation report shows more than 179,000 COVID-19 cases globally, with over 7,400 deaths. The Western Pacific Region has the most cases with more than 91,700 confirmed cases and more than 3,350 deaths.

See IHA’s COVID-19 webpage for a variety of resources in a central location.