New COVID-19 website launched to provide information and resources
In another effort to provide timely and accurate information to the public, Coronavirus.illinois.gov has been launched to centralize the breaking updates from state government, prevention and preparation tips, frequently asked questions and resources from public health experts.
The website includes resources like:
- News:The latest announcements from the Governor’s Office and state agencies on the evolving response to COVID-19.
- Prevention:Tips to keep safe and healthy practices at home, in the office, in long term care facilities, in homeless shelters, around local neighborhoods and during day-to-day activities.
- Preparation:How to take effective actions to plan for a situation where you may get sick, such as implementing family action plans, and what to do if you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- FAQs:Answers to general questions on COVID-19 and more specific questions related to education and unemployment.
- Resources:Guidance from experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and crucial information for both families and medical providers.
- About Coronavirus:What is coronavirus? Instructions on what individuals can do to protect themselves and help prevent community spread.
The Illinois Department of Insurance has issued a consumer FAQ in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that tackles questions about health coverage and the public’s ability to access health care services.
The FAQ tackles questions like, “Who pays for COVID 19 diagnostic testing if needed?” and “Can my insurance carrier cancel or refuse to renew my insurance policy if I am diagnosed with COVID 19 or a preexisting respiratory illness?”
Read answers to these questions and more at this link. https://insurance.illinois.gov/Newsrls/2020/03/COVID-19-FAQ.pdf
Small businesses facing economic challenges due to COVID-19 may soon find relief. The Governor’s administration has announced its intention to file for statewide eligibility in a federal loan program for small businesses.
The Department of Commerce and Economic opportunity has gathered information from more than 1,000 businesses throughout Illinois to file for relief with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
These low-interest loans would offer up to $2 million in assistance for each eligible small business or non-profit organization. Funds received via these loans could be used to pay fixed debts, payroll accounts, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the pandemic. The interest rate for businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75%, and the non-profit rate is 2.75%. According to the Small Business Administration, loans are available with long-term repayments to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.
Once approved by the federal government, business owners and non-profit leaders can apply for the loans here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
All Illinois Secretary of State facilities will be closed through at least March 31. To help motorists during the closures, expiration dates have been extended for 30 days for driver’s licenses and license plates.
Cash payments are not being accepted right now at Illinois tollways. Toll collections will be handled exclusively by I-Pass, E-ZPASS, and the tollway’s online payment portal. Grace period tolling will be extended, and violations will be held through the duration of the closure. You can find more information here: https://www.illinoistollway.com/media-center/inside-the-tollway?p_p_id=33&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_pos=1&p_p_col_count=2&_33_urlTitle=illinois-tollway-to-implement-all-electronic-tollingentryId832862entryId
Emergency declarations signed by the Governor will help ease the shipping of emergency relief supplies through Illinois. Through April 12, fees for overweight trucking permits have been waived for trucks hauling the much-needed supplies. The permits allow for weights not more than 10 percent higher than the gross axle, gross axle combination, or gross vehicle weight restrictions.
There are still some restrictions, however, on where permitted trucks can haul the overweight loads. Route restriction information can be found here: http://www.gettingaroundillinois.com/. The permits can be applied for here: https://webapps.dot.illinois.gov/ITAP/
Recognizing the impact the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis is having on consumers, the FDIC is encouraging financial institutions to give consideration to potential future steps to provide relief to costumers.
On March 9 the FDIC issued a release, urging financial institutions to meet financial needs of customers and members affected by the coronavirus.
The FDIC's release stated, "The agencies recognize the potential impact of the coronavirus on the customers, members and operations of many financial institutions and will provide appropriate regulatory assistance to affected institutions l subject to their supervision."
While much uncertainty still surrounds the COVID-19 health crisis, several banks are working to provide reassurance to their customers.
For a list of banks and their current relief efforts, follow this link.
Changes in policy for local food pantries to address safe distancing recommendations for COVID-19 are as individual as the food pantries themselves; however, one source of information is providing general guidelines that could be helpful to all.
The Feeding Illinois Web site at http://feedingillinois.org/index.php/covid-19 offers this information:
Feeding Illinois food banks and their agencies are trusted community resources; and our respective and collective efforts can be essential to your community’s health by:
- Providing nourishment to vulnerable populations during this time of heightened anxiety.
- Ensuring that we treat all people with respect and dignity.
- Conveying accurate information to help protect the neighbors we serve.
- Please consider helping us meet this obligation with a generous gift to provide continued – and expanded – support and relief to those individuals and families impacted most by the ongoing health emergency.
Please, consider helping our state’s food banks meet the needs of people in their community. Your gifts will help local food banks provide continued and expanded support and relief to families in need in your community. To help, check the Feeding Illinois Web site at http://feedingillinois.org/index.php/covid-19.
While much of the public’s focus is on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, many Illinois seniors have concerns about access to medication. Care Coordination units within the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) ensure the medication needs of Illinois seniors are being met by providing tailored person-centered plans of care for all participants.
While Adult Day Centers have temporarily suspended activities, IDoA is providing direction to ensure the needs of seniors are communicated and, if necessary, to provide automated medication dispensers. IDoA is in regular contact with all providers in the Aging Network to ensure collaboration and communication, particularly concerning medications and seniors living alone.
The Care Coordination Units maintain back-up plans and emergency contact information for all seniors. These plans ensure caregivers and family members are notified of medication needs. IDoA is providing Care Coordination Units with capacity grants to provide emergency-related supplies to seniors, including medical supplies.
More information on care coordination units can be found at this link https://www2.illinois.gov/aging/CommunityServices/Pages/case-mgmt.aspx, and more on COVID-19 efforts from IDoA can be found here https://www2.illinois.gov/aging/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx.
In addition, private business organizations such as CVS and Walgreens are offering free delivery of medications to vulnerable seniors throughout the State.