COVID-19

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COVID-19 Media & Publications

Apply for Small Business Disaster Assistance Loan

The SBA has approved Illinois’ application for disaster assistance loans for small businesses. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov.

Latest from the White House

The Trump Administration launched a new website – www.coronavirus.gov – to ensure real time information is being presented to the public.

CENSUS

Complete the 2020 Census Online.  Illinois residents can now complete the census questionnaire online at my2020census.gov.  Completing the census online will ensure that Illinoisans get both the representation and federal funding for the critical services that they deserve,

The online questionnaire is the quickest and easiest way to get counted in Illinois and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer and terminals at local libraries. The census is nine questions long and will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

An accurate count of Illinois’ population is essential to ensure the State receives the funding needed to properly care for its residents and provide critical services and programs. In 2015, Illinois received $19,738,866,367, or approximately $1,535 per capita, in federal assistance for sixteen programs. Failure to count every Illinois resident will have devastating effects on Illinois’ ability to meet the needs of its residents. Even a one-percent undercount would result in the loss of $19,557,435 per year, for a decade, resulting in a total loss of $195,574,350 for the State of Illinois. Additionally, the number of seats Illinois has in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next 10 years will be determined by the census count this year. Illinoisans deserve proportionate representation in the U.S. Congress, and a fair and accurate census count is how we ensure that happens.

RESTAURANTS & BARS

 VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Gov. Pritzker Announces Two-Week Statewide School Closure to Minimize COVID-19 Spread, Additional Economic Measures to Reduce Burden on Illinois Families

Chicago — Building on state guidance issued yesterday to promote social distancing and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, Governor JB Pritzker announced that the state of Illinois will close all schools from March 17 through March 30 and implement additional economic measures to reduce the burden on Illinois families. As of now, day care centers will remain open and will follow strict health and safety guidance.

“All of these choices have cascading effects for citizens and vulnerable populations when it comes to food access, safety, childcare, and social services,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We’ve seen what happens in places that didn’t move with urgency. I ask all of you not to hesitate to do the right thing for your family, your friends, and your community. One small step at a time, we will get through this together.”

“We have seen evidence from influenza outbreaks that community mitigation strategies, such a school closures, have an effect on decreasing the severity of the outbreak,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “By taking these actions now, we hope to slow and limit widespread transmission of this virus, which is essential to ensuring our health care system is not overwhelmed as the disease progresses through our state. School closures will help slow the progression of the virus and we are asking for everyone’s help in reducing the spread.”

“This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime, and we will get through this together,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Our administrators and educators have shown extraordinary leadership during a time of very difficult decisions. Schools closing will affect each community differently, and I want our teachers, our students, and our families to know that the Illinois State Board of Education is open and is here to help.” 

SCHOOL CLOSURES

Following extensive state-level analysis of coronavirus spread in various countries and the social distancing measures that were put in place, the State is taking the precautionary measure of closing all K-12 schools in the state of Illinois from March 17 through March 30. Schools with a spring break that falls outside of this window should move their spring break to within this timeframe.

The Pritzker administration is working to ensure critical support functions remain available to students across the state – including their access to food, child care and safe environments.

Gov. Pritzker has assured school administrators that the state will issue no penalties as a result of this closure. To provide support to school districts across the state, the Illinois State Board of Education will be fully staffed over the coming weekend and during the closure period to work through individualized issues and challenges in each district. An executive order to provide school districts flexibility during this period is forthcoming.

On Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Education was granted a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue providing meals to students in non-group settings. Students receiving free and reduce priced breakfasts and lunches will be able to receive grab-and-go meals each day, with some districts having the ability to deliver and others offering parent pick up.

The Department of Children and Family Services is working closely with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure emergency and preparedness plans are in place to keep youth in care and staff safe. All DCFS group homes will remain open and take extra safety precautions. 

ECONOMIC MEASURES

The Governor has also announced new economic measures to reduce the burden on Illinois families.

Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois – including energy, telecommunications and water – until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. The administration is also requesting changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren’t saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19.

The Governor is contacting the leaders of Illinois’ utility companies and urging them to maintain services for all Illinoisans, regardless of their ability to pay, during this public health crisis.

The Pritzker administration is working directly with the eight major food banks across Illinois to expand services. The administration is reaching out to food manufacturers to ensure food banks are prioritized and can provide our vulnerable residents the food they need.

Earlier this week, the administration filed emergency rules granting workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 access to unemployment benefits. The rules provide relief to people who may be restricted in the type of work they can perform due to the outbreak. 

AVAILABILITY OF TESTING

The Illinois Department of Public Health is working with state labs and hospital partners to significantly increase testing capability. At this time the administration believes testing can be sufficiently increased to ensure the minimum level of surveillance testing needed to appropriately monitor the spread of the virus.

Gov. Pritzker is continuing to pressure the federal government for more tests to allow the state to deploy full surveillance testing. 

HEIGHTENED VIGILANCE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

Vulnerable populations remain a top priority as community spread continues around the state, country and globe.

Elderly and immunocompromised residents should take extra caution when attending gatherings of any size and avoid exposure to large groups of people whenever possible.

The state has implemented new staffing procedures and strict guidelines restricting visitors at state-operated long-term care facilities and is also working closely with private nursing home and assisted living associations on the adoption of similar guidelines.
Anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home, call their doctor and plan a safe visit for examination.

The general public is encouraged to take social distancing practices, including avoiding events of more than 250 people, working from home if possible and maintaining social distance (6 feet) from anyone experiencing symptoms.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Bars and Restaurants Will Close to Public by End of Monday

Next Week, State Agencies to Temporarily Reduce Workforce While Maintaining Core Functions and Essential Operations

The following is a press release issued by Governor JB Pritzker’s office on Sunday, March 15, 2020

Chicago — As the state continues to take aggressive action to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, Governor JB Pritzker announced that all bars and restaurants in the state of Illinois will be closed to the public, beginning at close of business Monday, March 16th through Monday, March 30th.

“This is another hard step to take. I know how difficult this will be on small businesses around the state. But we must do everything we can to safeguard the health of the citizens of Illinois, and that requires this urgent action,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The time for persuasion and public appeals is over — the time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people of this state.”

“This is a make or break moment. Clear and bold actions are needed immediately to stop the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen public health in Chicago and across the state,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to keep our residents and businesses apprised of developing information, ensuring they understand the measures we are taking and are following the latest guidance by public health officials. The City of Chicago is working to safeguard the health of our communities at every level of our operations. We are resilient, and we are all in this together.”

The state is working closely with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure kitchens can safely remain open to continue food delivery and put in place drive-thru and curbside pickup options for restaurants to continue to serve the public.

“Public safety is the No. 1 concern of the Illinois Restaurant Association,” said Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association. 

“First and foremost, we want to protect the health of our customers and team members. We remain vigilant in helping employers to navigate the immediate challenges that come with this rapidly changing situation. I want to thank Governor Pritzker and his team, and Mayor Lightfoot and her team, for leading us.” 

ACTIONS TO PROTECT STATE WORKFORCE

Gov. Pritzker also announced that he has directed state agencies to implement plans for a temporary reduction of government functions and workforce while maintaining core functions and essential operations.

Select employees will continue to report to work; while the remaining workforce will either work remotely or be asked to remain home on call while receiving pay. All state employees will continue to be paid during this period.

Over the next several days, the Pritzker administration will finalize these plans and update state employees and the public. The Office of the Governor will remain fully operational throughout this period.

SOCIAL DISTANCING REMAINS CRUCIAL

Social distancing is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and the Governor is committed to using every tool at his disposal to protect public health.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

CVS Health announces additional COVID-19 resources focused on patient access

Latest enhancements will help prevent interruption of medication availability

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is taking additional steps across the company to address the COVID-19 outbreak and protect patient access to medication.

“Being committed to the welfare of those we serve means being responsive to evolving needs and acting swiftly. This is particularly true in times of uncertainty,” said Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “The latest steps we’re taking will help ensure patients of all ages have every option available to them when it comes to filling prescriptions.”

Beginning immediately, CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.

Building on a recent announcement that COVID-19 diagnostic testing and all telemedicine visits are available with no co-pay, Aetna, a CVS Health company, will now offer 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members and is working with state governments to make the same option available to Medicaid members where allowable.

Self-funded plan sponsors will also have the ability to offer this option. In addition, Aetna will waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all members with pharmacy benefits administered through CVS Caremark. Caremark is working with all clients to waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications. Most Caremark clients already offer a 90-day benefit for maintenance medications and the option of home delivery from CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy with no delivery cost.

“When you’re in a position to increase convenience and help provide some peace of mind, you act. As long as COVID-19 continues to be a threat, we’ll maintain a relentless focus on how best to serve our patients, members and customers,” Brennan continued.

TCVS Health is providing the latest information on precautions consumers should take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 – Read more below.https://cvshealth.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-health-announces-additional-covid-19-resources-focused-patient-access

Gov. Pritzker to File Federal Waiver to Expand Medicaid Coverage During COVID-19 Pandemic

Chicago — During the administration’s daily press briefing on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker announced that his administration will file a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage as COVID-19 continues to spread and affect the daily lives people across the nation.

“With the federal government’s newly declared state of emergency, under the Stafford Act my administration is filing a request for a federal waiver to allow our Medicaid program to more freely respond to the COVID-19 crisis by expanding medical services,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “During this crisis my administration is working to ensure that those who fear that they may be getting sick have access to the testing and treatment that they need without being saddled with costly medical bills for their care.”

Building on the state’s earlier measures to help working families through the expansion of unemployment insurance and calls for utilities to halt shut-offs and late payment fees, the Pritzker administration started working on the waiver application as soon as the federal government declared a national emergency and activated the Stafford Act.

If the federal waiver is approved, the state will be able to expand Medicaid services through the addition of new medical providers, increased access across the state and ramped up services to many of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

The state of Illinois continues to use every tool at its disposal to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the general public — including banning mass gatherings, closing schools and strongly encouraging social distancing practices.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.

Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.

The IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Asks for Information from Small Businesses to Assist with Economic Harm Caused by COVID-19 Outbreak

SPRINGFIELD – DCEO is working diligently to secure access to helpful resources for small businesses throughout the State of Illinois at this time. Here is a link to the SBA’s previous announcement,

The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As a part of this process, the State of Illinois is working to collect information from small businesses that will be negatively impacted. This information will assist us in requesting an economic injury disaster declaration from SBA. 

Please follow the link to this formto provide necessary from your small business to the SBA.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Many people across the state are looking for a way to help those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak, here are some options our members can post on social media right now:

Promote a local Meals on Wheels program
https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org

Many Meals on Wheels programs throughout the state are going to need extra help in the coming weeks. Members can volunteer or donate and encourage others to do the same. 

Donate blood through local blood banks or the American Red Cross –

https://www.redcrossblood.org/

There is an urgent need for blood donations right now. Eligible and healthy donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give blood soon to prevent a shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak.