Illinois has first death related to new coronavirus
Illinois has its first reported death connected to new coronavirus.
The patient was identified by state officials Tuesday as a Chicago woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions. She was diagnosed with the disease earlier this month and had been treated in isolation at a hospital up until her death.
“I want to send my deepest condolences to her family members,” Gov. JB Pritzker said during Tuesday’s press conference. “I want them to know that the entire state of Illinois mourns with them. May her memory be a blessing.”
Officials said the woman had been in “close contact” with another individual confirmed to have COVID-19.
At least 100 Americans have died from the disease as of Tuesday afternoon.
Officials announced Tuesday there have been 55 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 160 in 15 counties.
That includes 22 cases at a long-term care facility in DuPage County. Those patients, 18 residents and four staff members, are being treated in isolation.
Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said federal, state and local officials are working together to treat those long-term care patients and to identify anyone else who may have been in contact with those individuals.
“This reinforces the need for all of us to do our part to reduce possible exposure in the community,” she said.
Officials said the number of confirmed cases is expected to rise in the coming days, in part because of the increase in the number of tests.
The state announced Tuesday night that it had activated the National Guard to help with the COVID-19 response. About 60 service members will begin to assist with the anticipated need for logistical support and medical staffing.
Tuesday was the first day that Illinois bars, dine-in restaurants and schools were closed, part of a state mandate to close for at least two weeks. To help support small businesses, the state announced it would apply for a statewide Economic Injury Declaration with the U.S. Small Business Administration in the hopes of getting new coronavirus disaster assistance loans.
If approved, the low-interest loans will offer up to $2 million in assistance per eligible small business or non-profit organization that applies. Loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the pandemic.
“These loans… are among the many tools the administration is pursuing to provide relief for businesses in the near and long term,” said Erin Guthrie, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The administration also plans to file a federal Medicaid waiver to tap into the increased flexibilities available to the program after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday.
The state has not yet provided details on what it’s requesting, but Department of Healthcare and Family Services spokesman John Hoffman said it will be filing a waiver “soon to offer a range of added services and streamline our systems to help people throughout Illinois respond effectively to COVID-19.”
“We want to ensure that anyone who needs it will have coverage for testing and treatment, especially those already facing financial challenges at this time,” he said in a statement to Health News Illinois.
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