Illinois COVID-19 Update

April 10, 2020

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,465 new COVID-19 cases and 68 deaths. The total number of cases in the state is 17,887 in 83 counties, with a total of 596 deaths.

The focus of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s daily press update focused on disparities in healthcare.  He announced that the new state-run COVID-19 drive-thru testing center will open next week in the Markham-Harvey area. In addition, more than 2,000 hotel rooms have been procured throughout the state, outside Chicago, as alternate housing for low-acuity COVID-19 patients who have no place to self-quarantine and those who are under investigation for the virus.

he Governor released guidance today to the healthcare community on obligations to provide healthcare in an “ethical, equitable and nondiscriminatory manner to people of color, people with disabilities, and all Illinoisans.”

IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, M.D., compared the COVID-19 death rates between blacks and whites:

  • 12 times as many blacks in their 50s than whites of the same age die from COVID-19;
  • 8 times as many blacks in their 60s than whites of the same age die from COVID-19; and
  • 10 times as many blacks in their 70s than whites of the same age die from COVID-19.

Dr. Ezike announced the creation of the state’s COVID-19 Equity Team, developed to address health disparities challenges related to the virus. Its first action was developing a text messaging system for COVID-19 updates in English and Spanish. Opt in to receive COVID-19 related updates by texting "COVID" to 312-500-3836. For Spanish, text "COVID ESP" to the same number.

Gov. Pritzker discussed a state partnership between Lurie Children’s Hospital and federally qualified health centers (FQHC) on the south and west sides of Chicago to process COVID-19 tests locally for faster turnaround of results. A similar COVID-19 testing operation will take place in the Metro East region next week. Three Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation locations will be taking 470 specimens daily and sending them to Anderson Hospital for processing.

Alternate Care Facility construction for the former Sherman Hospital, MetroSouth Medical Center and Westlake Hospital is scheduled to be completed on April 24, followed by a few days of training prior to opening. Construction at Vibra Hospital in Springfield is scheduled to be done on May 9.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot this afternoon announced the completion of Phase 2 of the McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility, with 1,750 additional beds. She said more than 400 medical staff have been hired, with more than 300 of them completing onsite training.  Nick Turkal, the facility’s executive director, said the site will be able to receive COVID-19 patients (lower acuity patients) by the middle of next week, with referral systems now being worked out with local hospitals.

Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot thanked businesses, organizations and individuals for stepping up to support the city’s COVID-19 pandemic response. To date, nearly 2 million pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been donated to the city and over 1,700 Chicagoans have joined the Chicago Medical Reserve Corps. The donated PPE includes N-95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes that will be distributed to hospitals, healthcare facilities and other facilities. Chicago Department of Public Health expects to receive hundreds of thousands of additional donations in the coming weeks, some on an ongoing basis, and will distribute accordingly.