Pritzker orders “Stay At Home” for Illinois starting Saturday

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune: Last Updated 3/20/2020 3:48PM

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker today issued a “stay at home” order for the entire state starting Saturday at 5 p.m. through April 7.

Pritzker said his latest decision was based on conversations with “some of the best medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers.”

“I’ve asked every one of these experts, What action can I take to save the most lives?’” he said. “Well, they’ve come back to me with one inescapable conclusion: To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois.”

Residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs, the governor said at a Friday afternoon news conference. All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic, as well.

“For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” Pritzker said of the shelter-in-place directive.

As to how the order would be enforced, Pritzker said, “to be honest, we don’t have the resources, the capacity, or the desire to police every individual’s behavior.

“Enforcement comes in many forms, and our first and best option is to rely on Illinoisans to be good members of their communities and good citizens, working together to keep each other safe. I’ve instructed law enforcement to monitor for violations and take action when necessary, but that is not an option that anyone prefers,” he said.

The reopening date for schools statewide has been tentatively postponed until April 8, Pritzker said. It had been the end of March. In addition, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago parks and libraries will be closed as of 5 p.m. Saturday.

Lightfoot said “now is not the time for half measures” and urged people to follow the order.

“You must stay home,” she said. “This is not a lockdown, or martial law.”

Lightfoot also urged people not to run to grocery stores and wipe them out. “Be mindful of your neighbors and do not hoard supplies,” she said.

Dr. Emily Landon, from University of Chicago medicine, has been consulting with the governor and said the “stay at home” order was the only way forward.

“(The virus) spreads before you even know you have it,” she said. “Our health care system does not have any slack.”

“A successful shelter in place means you’re going to feel like it was all for nothing,” she added.

The governor said Friday’s “stay at home” order wasn’t an easy decision.

“I fully recognize, in some cases, I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods. But ultimately you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life,” he said. “Of all the obligations that weigh on me as governor, this is the greatest. If there are actions that I can take to save lives in the midst of this pandemic, no matter how difficult, then I have an obligation to take these actions.”

Pritzker also urged patience in the fast-evolving health crisis.

“We don’t know yet all the steps we’re going to have to take to get this virus under control,” he said.

 

SBA Opens Disaster Loans for Lake County Businesses

SBA Opens Disaster Loans for Lake County Businesses

If you own a small business, run a private non-profit, or are self-employed in Lake County facing financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. Small Business Administration has been authorized to start making low-interest disaster loans available.

Gov. Pritzker announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 Illinois counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications on the SBA website. Applicants may also call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Local assistance can be found here and additional information regarding the program can also be found on the SBA’s coronavirus small business guidance loan resources web page.

United Way of Lake County Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

United Way of Lake County Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

United Way of Lake County, Lake County Government, Lake County Community Foundation, and the Lake County Municipal League have joined together to create the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Hosted and administered by United Way of Lake County, the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund will support local nonprofit organizations serving Lake County’s most vulnerable neighbors. The fund unites monies raised by Lake County philanthropies, corporations, and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing urgent resources for Lake County most at-risk neighbors.

“We know how important our nonprofit agencies are to the people of Lake County. They are there for all of us, particularly our most vulnerable, every day and especially in times of crisis. By giving to this fund, we ensure that the volunteers and experts remain on the front line, protecting our residents and providing critical services.” said Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart.

Grant funding will focus on critical needs, such as food security and basic supplies, rental and utility assistance, access to health care and prescriptions, and emerging emergency needs identified real time through the 211 information and referral helpline.

“We have never known a time more important than now to come together to support the critical needs of Lake County,” said Kristi Long, President and CEO of United Way of Lake County. “The COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created to move resources quickly and provide much needed support for local nonprofit social services organizations addressing the community’s greatest needs during this challenging time.”

Donations to the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund can be made by visiting LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/covid19. To pay by check, make checks payable to United Way of Lake County and note “COVID-19 Community Response Fund”, 330 S. Greenleaf Street, Gurnee, IL 60031.

ABOUT UNITED WAY OF LAKE COUNTY

United Way of Lake County’s mission is to unite leadership and resources to create lasting change that will improve lives in Lake County, Illinois. United Way recently launched 211, a free, confidential, 24-hour information and referral helpline, providing personalized help guiding individuals and families in Lake County to available health and human services.

Through the support of our partners and supporters, we are transforming communities by delivering programs and services that are timely, effective and scalable, with results we can measure. For more information, visit LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org.

Important Info For Lake County Businesses Affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Important Info For Lake County Businesses Affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Attention small businesses in Lake County who are affected by the recent Coronavirus precautions.

If you have or anticipate financial losses as a result of the pandemic or the response to the pandemic, you may be eligible for emergency disaster funding through the Small Business Administration, as ordered by the President of the United States.

Here is a link to a form, provided by the SBA, to fill out so that Illinois and Lake County can be opened up to receive emergency funding.

This is just the first step of the process. More information from the SBA will be forthcoming once Illinois and Lake County have been opened up for the disaster relief.

Tip:  Where it asks for an end date to the hardship, just put a date somewhat out into the future.  The SBA is well aware this is not yet known.

 

Again, here is the link:

Out of Abundance of Caution Lake County Implements Disaster Proclamation To Open Up Federal and State Resources

Out of Abundance of Caution Lake County Implements Disaster Proclamation To Open Up Federal and State Resources

The Lake County Board Chair, Sandy Hart, signed a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, a proactive measure that will allow Lake County to access additional state and federal funding and resources for coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts. The proclamation follows a recommendation by the Lake County Board of Health at its March 12 executive board meeting, as well as a request by some Members of the Board on March 11.

On Wednesday, four Board Members, Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach, Michael Danforth of Barrington, Michael Rummel of Lake Forest and Diane Hewitt of Waukegan issued a statement requesting a heightened response to the pandemic virus that saw it’s first case in Lake County this week.

Citing data that shows adding “Social Distancing” to the recommended response can slow the hyperbolic increase in the disease’s spread, limit the demand on health care facilities and reduce fatalities, Barr called for the County to “lead by example”, calling for a heightened response to protect our residents and businesses of Lake County, and implementing a policy of Social Distancing. “We have evidence going back to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 that shows Social Distancing can drastically limit and slow the spread of a disease,” said Barr.

The proclamation is a procedural step that will ensure the County is able to access the resources, equipment and personnel needed to address changing circumstances. This is particularly necessary should the number of COVID-19 cases rise and the demands on County staff and partners continue to increase.

“I strongly support  the proclamation”, said Barr. “This [proclamation ] will allow us to open up avenues of financial support from the state and the federal government.  I have been talking closely with the White House and Small Business Administration to identify how we can get not just healthcare help, but also help for our local, small businesses who have been struggling in the wake of the outbreak.”

All Lake County government offices currently remain open, and Lake County has a contingency planning team in place that is closely monitoring the fast-changing COVID-19 situation. To ensure the safety of the community and Lake County government staff, Lake County will be following the guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department to minimize COVID-19 spread. This includes:

  • Postponing and canceling large-scale events
  • Considering the cancellation of upcoming public meetings, including Lake County Board Committee meetings
  • Encouraging social distancing in the workplace
  • Exploring teleworking options for Lake County government staff
  • Limiting non-essential work travel

“Our highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of Lake County employees and their families, and residents,” said County Administrator Gary Gibson. “This is a dynamic situation, and our staff is working tirelessly to stay up to date with the most current information and make informed decisions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. Residents are recommended to practice social distancing and follow new guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department:

  • Community events of 250 people or more should be canceled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events, and those with large spectator crowds, such as concerts and sporting events
  • For events with less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider cancelling. Vulnerable populations include older adults and people of all ages with serious chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes
  • Residents should use good judgment about attending events in their own communities
  • View the complete guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department

Residents also should remember the 3 C’s – clean, cover, and contain to prevent the spread of illness.

Clean

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects

Cover

  • Cover cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands

Contain

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

The Lake County Board and Health Department are closely monitoring the fast-changing outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to post updates at lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 newsletter.

For general questions about COVID-19, call the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Small Business Help for Lake County Businesses Demonstrably Affected by Coronavirus

Small Business Help for Lake County Businesses Demonstrably Affected by Coronavirus

***UPDATE For Small Businesses Affected by the Coronavirus***

This morning I called my contact at the White House, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to get information for how businesses can access Federal money to assist in their businesses affected by the Coronavirus.

He put me in touch with the Senior Advisor for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Small Business Administration.

I just got off the phone with him, and here are two avenues for assistance: One is already released, but a few things need to happen, the other requires Congress approving bills to release stimulus money to small businesses.

1. The President called for $50 Billion in SBA funding to go to assist Small Businesses affected by the Coronavirus. However there is not a bill yet that includes that funding request. Congress must act on that if it is to come to fruition.

2. Already approved, is funding available for small businesses, up to $2,000,000. However, some things need to happen, and I need your help. In order for that money to be released to Illinois businesses, the Governor needs to work with the SBA and provide them information on businesses who need that money in the State… and likewise, in order for a County to get help for their businesses, the County must provide information of at least one affected business in the County that needs assistance.

I am calling on you to email me at DBarr@LakeCountyIL.gov if you are a small business, demonstrably affected by the Coronavirus, and I will forward your information on to the necessary people who will get your information to the Governor, so we can open up money for our County’s affected businesses.

Thank you for your time… I apologize for all of the posts today, but am working on breakneck speed to get this information out to as many people who find it useful.

Please share this with business owners you believe will find this useful.

Lake County Health Department Issues New Guidance to Minimize COVID-19 Spread

Lake County Health Department Issues New Guidance to Minimize COVID-19 Spread

Lake County, Ill. — Following the leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State of Illinois, the Lake County Health Department is issuing new recommendations to slow community spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These recommendations include community interventions such as cancelling large events and social distancing, which are measures to reduce social contact to help prevent the spread of illness while minimizing disruption to people’s lives.

“We want to reassure residents that currently, there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Lake County. We do, however, expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Lisa Kritz, Director of Prevention for the Lake County Health Department. “Our priority is protecting the health and safety of all who live, work, and play in Lake County, and we are taking an aggressive approach to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. By acting now, we all can help prevent illness and protect one another.”

“We recognize each of our communities is unique and jurisdictions need to consider tailoring their mitigation strategies to their characteristics and population,” said Tim Sashko, Lake County Board of Health President. “However, these new recommendations provide common-sense steps every community can take now to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

In agreement with the State of Illinois and the CDC’s Mitigation Strategies for Communities, and in close collaboration with the Lake County Government, the Lake County Health Department is issuing the following guidance:

Community Events

  • Community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events, and those with large spectator crowds, such as concerts and sporting events.
  • For events less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider cancelling. Vulnerable populations include older adults and people of all ages with serious chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
  • Residents should use good judgment about attending events in their own communities.

Schools

  • At this time, the Lake County Health Department does not recommend school cancellation. The decision to cancel will be determined by individual school districts. School administrators and faculty should make responsible decisions, guided by recommendations from the CDC and the State, in the best interest of the health and safety of their students and families. Please refer to the CDC’s Considerations for School Closure guide.
  • Schools should not hold large assemblies or sporting events with 250 or more attendees.
  • Schools should consider other social distancing practices such as restricting access to school buildings to essential personnel, limiting field trips and inter-school interactions, staggering schedules to reduce mixing (e.g., stagger recess, entry/dismissal times), and should plan for digital and distance learning.
  • The Lake County Health Department has shared additional evidence-based recommendations directly with school district superintendents.

Businesses and Workplaces

  • Businesses should take advantage of teleworking capabilities. Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.
  • For businesses that cannot have employees work remotely, employers should take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. Remind staff to stay home when sick, consider a plan for teleworking where feasible, remain flexible on leave policies, and promote robust mitigation approaches such as thorough hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer.

Vulnerable Populations

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people of all ages with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

  • Individuals who fall into these categories should avoid crowds, limit close contact with others, and wash your hands often to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • Long-term care facilities in Lake County should implement measures following the guidance of the Illinois Department of Aging Immediate AAA Guidance on Congregate Settings, and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Long-Term Care Facilities Guidance to protect their residents.

“Our Health Department has a dedicated team of staff working night and day to protect the health of our residents,” said Tim Sashko. “We ask all people to prepare and stay healthy. Continue using everyday preventive actions—washing hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when you are sick, and avoiding contact with sick people.”

Visit www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus for updates on COVID-19 in Lake County and to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 email newsletter.

Utilize the IDPH COVID-19 hotline and website to have any questions answered or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931, email dph.sick@illinois.gov, or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

19th Judicial Circuit to Remain Open, However Takes Steps to Limit Number of People Entering Courthouse

19th Judicial Circuit to Remain Open, However Takes Steps to Limit Number of People Entering Courthouse

The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit in Lake County is open and will continue to monitor state and local responses to the coronavirus and will follow guidance provided by state and local public health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to be proactive, the Chief Judge has directed that the following steps will be taken to reduce the number of people entering the courthouse.

Employees and Facility:

All employees have been encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; stay home when sick; avoid close contact with people who are sick; and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Facility crews are conducting regular cleanings with an emphasis on first-touch areas such as doors knobs and areas inside elevators and restrooms.
Jury Service:

There is a plan to limit the number of jurors called for service.
If you are summoned for jury service and are experiencing any acute respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, headaches), flu-like symptoms, have a fever, or are coughing or sneezing, contact the jury office on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 847-377-4600 to defer your service to a later date. These are standard procedures but especially important at this time.
Expansion of Remote Court Appearances:

Attorneys or litigants that are unable to be present in courtrooms hearing Civil and Family matters (except Orders of Protection) may be able to appear remotely through use of CourtCall telephonic service. To schedule your appearance through CourtCall, call 1-888-882-6878 or email assist@CourtCall.com
If you have questions about remote appearances, contact the Court Administration Office at 847-377-3600
Courthouse Tours and Educational Events:

All scheduled courthouse tours, trainings and educational events are canceled until further notice.
Adult and Juvenile Probation, Juvenile Detention:

Probation and Detention remain open.
A plan has been implemented to limit in-person contacts and suspension of certain large group meetings.
Certain treatment related group meetings will be relocated to larger areas to accommodate social distancing.
Probationers who are feeling sick or have had contact with someone who has the coronavirus should contact their probation officer. Probation clients should also contact their probation officer if they have any questions about their next appointment.
Implementation of additional screening measures during intake process to identify individuals that may be experiencing symptoms, or had exposure to others, related to COVID-19.
Implementation of remote visitation procedures for persons held at the detention center or FACE-IT residential program.
Law Library and Kids’ Korner:

Both facilities are open to the public and are fully operational.
If you are experiencing any acute respiratory illness symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, headaches), flu-like symptoms, have a fever, or are coughing or sneezing, please do not visit the Law Library.
If a child is at all symptomatic, they will not be admitted into Kids’ Korner.
These are precautionary measures only. The health and welfare of all employees and courthouse users is our priority. As more information becomes available or if there are changes to court operations, we will advise.

Several County Board Members Call For Increased Response In Wake of 1st Confirmed Coronavirus Case in Lake County

Several County Board Members Call For Increased Response In Wake of 1st Confirmed Coronavirus Case in Lake County

Lake County Board Member Dick Barr, a Republican from Round Lake Beach is calling on his colleagues on the Lake County Board to join him in requesting additional measures be taken immediately to heighten the County’s response to the spreading Coronavirus, now that a Lake County case has been identified.

Citing data that shows adding “Social Distancing” to the recommended response can slow the hyperbolic increase in the disease’s spread, limit the demand on health care facilities and reduce fatalities, Barr is calling for the County to “lead by example” by implementing a policy of Social Distancing. “We have evidence going back to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 that shows Social Distancing can drastically limit and slow the spread of a disease,” said Barr.

The CDC defines social distancing as remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Barr said, “Data shows that cases in the U.S. are doubling every two days. With a long incubation period and evidence that the virus can be spread before symptoms show, it is very likely that more cases exist that we don’t know about yet.”

Lake County Board Member, Michael Danforth, a Barrington Republican, who is also an attorney practicing in Lake County, agrees with Barr. “Our courts have hundreds of people coming in and out, exposing themselves and others to possible spread of a known virus,” said Danforth.

He added, “Our judges, employees, officers, attorneys and the general public are being somewhat forced to be in close quarters, in small, enclosed spaces, which is probably the number one way for a virus to spread.  We need to investigate options that would add video and teleconferencing for simple matters that don’t necessarily require in person appearances.”

Barr said, he is by no means calling for a panicked, overresponse, yet a measured and reasonable call to limit events that attract large gatherings of people in an attempt to proactively prevent the spread of the virus, which can be fatal to vulnerable populations, specifically elderly and those with compromised immune systems. “Even though the recovery rate is extremely high, over 97%, I believe this is an important step to protecting our entire community from a virus that we still know very little about, and do not yet have a vaccine for”, said Barr.

County Board Member, Mike Rummel, a Lake Forest Republican said, “I questioned whether we should be cancelling our public meetings for the time being since I saw information from insurance companies discouraging gatherings in excess of 20 people in confined spaces.” He added, “I think we need to immediately look at technology options to allow for meetings without putting the public or our staff at risk, so we can maintain continuity of Government for the residents of Lake County.”

County Board Member Diane Hewitt, a Democrat from Waukegan agrees, “we need to act in the best interest of our residents, immediately, for the sake of their health and well-being. I join my colleagues in requesting a stronger response to the current pandemic, as identified by the CDC, sooner than later.”

Barr said he participated in a CDC briefing today put on by the White House, where the recommendation was made to consider rearranging large activities and gatherings, in addition to the current recommendations of the Three C’s: Clean Cover and Contain. “I am asking all governments to consider cancelling or postponing large gatherings to help slow the spread of the virus.”