Illinois COVID-19 Update

April 7, 2020

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,287 new COVID-19 cases and 73 deaths, the highest number of deaths statewide in a 24-hour period thus far. The total number of cases in the state is 13,549 in 77 counties, with a total of 380 deaths.

At the daily press briefing, IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, M.D., noted that 68% of COVID-19 cases are in people younger than 50 years of age. However, 80% of COVID-19 deaths are in people 60 years of age and older.

Governor J.B. Pritzker said that no state has the testing capability like South Korea does. However, he continues to work on increasing testing capabilities to be able to gather more accurate data as he believe there is a significant undercount in cases. The Governor also revealed that a staff member in his office, who was sent home due to illness on March 26, has tested positive.   

The Governor also revealed that a staff member in his office, who was sent home due to illness on March 26, has tested positive.

The Governor reported that statewide, a total of 43% of regular hospital beds are available and 35% of hospital ICU beds are available. He thanked California Governor Gavin Newsom for overnighting 100 ventilators for use in the state. The federal government has sent the state 600 ventilators, with 300 of those ventilators for use in Chicago. Gov. Pritzker said more than 3,600 ventilators have been ordered from manufacturers, with an initial delivery of ventilators expected later this month. More details are available here.

IDPH has issued guidance on the use of masks by the general public. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommendation, IDPH says that “All Illinoisans should wear a mask or face covering when they must leave their home or report to work for essential operations and they either cannot or it is impractical to maintain 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and others.” The IDPH guidance also outlines best practices for homemade masks or face coverings.

IDPH has released a summary of updated N95 guidance from the CDC for optimizing the supply of N95 respirators. The update describes changes to conventional, contingency and crisis capacity strategies.  

Gov. Pritzker issued an executive order yesterday that suspended the audio recording of an applicant’s verbal attestation during a telephone application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The order also allows for a verbal attestation to be accepted by telephone in lieu of a signature on applications received by mail unsigned and applications for public assistance taken over the phone. The state plans to notify the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) of its intent to implement similar procedures for medical assistance applications.

Representatives from the Illinois Dept. of Human Services (IDHS), Riverside Healthcare, AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital, the Kankakee County Health Department and Shapiro leadership are working together on plans to best meet the resident and employee needs at the Shapiro Development Center related to the COVID19 pandemic. The group has been meeting regularly to develop protocols to support Shapiro’s on-site clinical staff to provide care for residents as their symptoms require, up to the level requiring hospitalization. Shapiro, which is operated by IDHS, provides 24 hour-a-day, seven days-a-week residential support and services for 477 adults with intellectual disabilities. The facility has a staff of nearly 1,200, including medical personnel. Read more about their efforts here.