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.

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.

Flooding Update & Cleanup Information

Updated Sept. 16, 2:30 p.m. 

Flood Response and Cleanup Information

Water levels on the Des Plaines River, Fox River and Chain O’Lakes are beginning to peak or crest. Those who live near these areas should continue to be alert.

Current State of the Rivers and Lakes 

According to the National Weather Service, the Des Plaines River has crested, water levels will continue to recede, and levels will be below flood stage by the end of the week.

Water levels on the Chain O’Lakes and the Fox River are beginning to crest, but water levels are expected to remain high for several days. An inundation map shows approximately 600 properties along the Fox River and Chain O’ Lakes, including Long Lake, could be affected by flooding at the current projected water levels. Note that the map indicates a likely level of impact. It is possible additional businesses or residences could be impacted if water levels exceed projections.

The Fox River remains closed to boating, and the Chain O’Lakes is anticipated to be closed to boating starting at 3 p.m. today. A debris advisory has been issued on the entire Fox Waterway system. Debris concerns can be reported on the Fox Waterway website. The National Weather Service and Lake County will continue to monitor water levels throughout the week. Note that projections are subject to change. River gauge data can be found on the National Weather Service website.

As of Monday, Sept. 16, some Gurnee roads remain closed due to flooding on the Des Plaines River, including Route 132 from IL Route 21 to O’Plaine Road.

For the latest road conditions, visit Lake County PASSAGE.

Wells, Septic and Health Safety

Floodwaters often contain organisms that cause illness. Remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately following contact with floodwater or contaminated objects or surfaces. If you become ill after exposure to flooded areas, (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps), see your physician.

Residents are advised to not drink water from a private well that has been flooded. The water may be contaminated with bacteria and other contaminants. Use bottled or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, washing hands and bathing until you know your water is safe.

Heavy rains and floods can also prevent the proper operation of septic systems. Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks seeping into the ground can contaminate surface water and ground water. If you use a septic system at your home, take the following precautions:

  • Avoid contact with septic system electrical devices until they are dry and clean.
  • Reduce nonessential water use (e.g., dishwashing, washing clothes, showering).
  • Flush toilets as little as possible or use a temporary toilet.
  • Consult with a licensed septic system professional before pumping out septic tanks, aerobic units, lift stations, or holding tanks.
  • If you suspect your septic system has been damaged, get the system professionally inspected and serviced. A list of septic system professionals can be found at: www.lakecountyil.gov/818/Onsite-Wastewater-Treatment-System

If you have questions or concerns about your private well or septic system, contact Environmental Health Services at (847) 377-8020.

Sandbags and Clean Up Kits  

Residents in need of sandbags or clean up kits should contact their local municipality or township office. Sandbags can act as a barrier to divert floodwaters and prevent or reduce flood damage at your home.

Waste and Debris   

Residents should contact their village for waste and debris collection information. Those living in unincorporated Lake County should contact their hauler/waste management services provider.

Stay Informed

Watch for updates on Lake County’s Facebook page and on this page. Lake County will continue posting information as the situation develops.

Lake County Water Levels Expected to Rise This Weekend, Flooding Expected

Lake County Water Levels Expected to Rise This Weekend, Flooding Expected

Flooding expected as National Weather Service projects Des Plaines River to be at major flood stage this weekend

Lake County water levels expected to rise as Lake County is continuing to monitor flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the region over the past week.

Due to heavy rain in southeast Wisconsin this week, water levels are expected to rise on the Des Plaines River, Fox River, and Chain O’Lakes this weekend as the water makes its way downstream, and as water from flooded roads and yards makes its way back to the rivers. Local officials are continuing to work together to assist our communities in response to flooding.

The Des Plaines River is projected by the National Weather Service to reach major flood stage this weekend. This means those who live along or near the Des Plaines River should prepare for high water over the next several days and pay attention to weather and flooding forecasts.

The Fox River and Chain O’Lakes are also projected to rise. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has closed the Fox River to boating, and the Chain O’Lakes is at no wake status. The Skokie River has crested, meaning water levels have peaked and the river is beginning to recede.

The National Weather Service and Lake County will continue to monitor water levels throughout the weekend. Note that projections are subject to change. River gauge data can be found on the National Weather Service website.

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission continues to assess localized flooding. Residents can help Lake County document the extent of flooding by sending a photo and the location of flooding in or around their homes and neighborhood. To do this, residents can complete this form.

For updated road conditions, please visit Lake County PASSAGE. Remember that it is dangerous to drive through high water. Motorists should remember to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

If residents need materials or supplies, such as sandbags, contact your local municipality or township.

Watch for updates on Lake County’s Facebook page and on www.lakecountyil.gov/flood.  Lake County will be posting information as the situation develops.