Illinois COVID-19 Update

April 8, 2020
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,529 new COVID-19 cases and 82 deaths—the highest one-day death count thus far. The total number of cases in the state is 15,078 in 78 counties, with a total of 462 deaths.

At today’s press briefing, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois is processing 6,000 COVID-19 test kits per day. While this is less than the 10,000 tests per day goal that the Governor announced 10 days ago, there have been issues with testing machines and availability of testing kits. The Governor is working with a variety of manufacturers, including Abbott Labs, on procuring rapid COVID-19 testing machines and kits.

Gov. Pritzker also announced that the Illinois COVID-19 response fund to support community organizations and local nonprofits around the state, has conducted its first round of grant distributions. It has awarded $5.5 million to 30 organizations that serve families across 96% of the state’s population. The fund has raised more than $28 million from nearly 2,000 donors, and more rounds of funding will be coming soon.

The Governor noted that 575 National Guardsmen are supporting COVID-19 response efforts throughout the state. In addition, two cargo aircrafts from the Illinois Air National Guard flew to Eugene, Oregon to retrieve 250 negative-pressure tents that will be used at the McCormick Place alternate care facility. This is said to be one of three deliveries.

IDPH announced that effective immediately, authorization is no longer required for COVID 19 testing at the IDPH Public Health Laboratories. The testing priorities remain unchanged and can be reviewed on the IDPH COVID webpage.

IDPH reminder: Under federal guidance, healthcare facilities may be able to charge patients a fee for administering medical countermeasures (such as for healthcare provider time), but they cannot charge patients for any federally supplied medical assets or pharmaceuticals. Emergency personal protective equipment, medical supplies, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals provided by the federal government are free of charge to those who need them (e.g., patients, healthcare providers). The hospital and treatment center coordinator will need to work closely with healthcare facilities to ensure that they use federally issued supplies and pharmaceuticals according to federal guidance. In some instances, a facility may need to charge a patient for administration, such as when the healthcare facility provides the syringe and needle and skilled nursing staff to administer a medication, or a dispensing fee at the pharmacy. However, if that medication came from the federal government (e.g., pharmaceuticals from the strategic national stockpile) the facility cannot charge the patient for the actual medication. Healthcare facilities may find it useful to keep all federally supplied assets in a separate storage area and clearly note these assets as federally supplied in their inventory management system to ensure that they are not misallocated.

Today the Illinois Dept. of Human Services (DHS) announced Early Intervention (EI) services may now be delivered via live video telehealth visits. EI services for infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays include help with movement, learning, interacting, behavior, and self-help skills. EI services can be delivered over any platform so long as it is not public-facing, to ensure privacy. Face-to-face EI services were suspended on March 16. Families can access EI services through the IDHS website. Guidance and training for video visits can be found on the EI Clearing House website.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced a temporary Public Health Order prohibiting all liquor sales citywide after 9 p.m. each evening as part of the latest measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Chicago’s communities. To further ensure all businesses and residents are properly complying with Governor Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order, the new measure, effective tomorrow evening, April 9, will help prevent congregate activity that has been observed across the city near stores that sell alcohol, particularly during evening hours. This new Public Health Order will give CPD and BACP enforcement authority to further curb non-compliance, with potential penalties for liquor sales after 9 p.m. including $500 fine, arrest and revocation of liquor and other licenses.

In The Joint Commission's (TJC) weekly e-Alert, the accreditation body released new COVID-19 guidance and resources for healthcare providers. TJC also has a webpage containing COVID-19 webinar replays.