Corona Virus in Illinois Updates: Here’s What Happens On Friday

Apr 4, 2020 1:35 AM ET

In addition, the first loss of a COVID-19 police officer in Chicago is considered a on-duty death, police officers said on Friday, giving the official’s family access to special financial benefits.

On the economic side, nearly 300 Trump International Hotel & Tower employees were among more than 14,000 layoffs reported to the state in March. Most of these concerned the economic impact of the new corona virus when companies cut or closed their doors.

In the meantime, the federal government expects to begin sending coronavirus stimulus checks by direct payment in mid-April, probably in the week of April 13. After that, however, the IRS will begin issuing paper checks to individuals, and it could take until August for all of the checks to be received after a memo is sent.

11:20 am: The death of the Chicago police officer in connection with COVID-19 is considered on duty

Interim Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck announced this decision at the police headquarters during an event to thank donors whose contributions have helped officials during the outbreak.

Official Marco DiFranco, 50, died early Thursday at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, the Cook County medical examiner said. He was assigned to the citywide narcotics department and hired as a Chicago police officer in 1998, the police said.

“And because of that, his family will continue to have protection from the Chicago Police Department,” Beck said of the performance decision. “You won’t be destitute.” You will be taken care of. You will continue to be part of the CPD family.

Beck didn’t say how DiFranco got the disease. However, he said that the determination to classify DiFranco’s death as being on the job is that the officer and other first responders were tasked with working under conditions that put them at higher risk of infection than the general public.

“And I think everyone has to realize that these are difficult times,” he continued. “And things that were unimaginable in our past will happen. And we need to come together as a society to protect those who protect us. “

In the last report, there were more than 70 Chicago police officers and two civil servants who tested positive for the corona virus. Read more here. – Jeremy Gorner

11:14 a.m .: Local leaders praise Pritzker’s plan to reopen Westlake Hospital

Emanuel “Chris” Welch was one of several local leaders who praised the state’s plans to reopen Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park to treat COVID-19 patients. He hopes that it will be ready for use within weeks.

“I am very happy about this news,” said Welch. “I am grateful to Governor J. B. Pritzker for his strong, stable and steadfast leadership in this time of crisis. He kept telling me that he was trying to do this. I trusted him and believed in him and he did it. “

Governor Pritzker announced on Thursday that Westlake Hospital, which closed in August 2019, will be the fourth facility to accommodate coronavirus patients. The hospital will provide 230 beds, officials said.

“Westlake was a perfect place in the western suburbs to be part of the answer to the crisis we are in,” said Welch. “The 230 beds will be very helpful. Westlake is for non-acute COVID-19 patients. The most serious patients will not be in Westlake, but they will make room for acute patients in other facilities. “

In addition to Westlake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois National Guard are building a 3,000 bed field hospital at McCormick Place and a total of 500 beds in two other closed suburban hospitals: the former Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin and MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island. All facilities are expected to open at the end of the month.

Pritzker said state officials are also working on a plan to open another “alternative nursing home in central Illinois in the coming weeks.” Read more here. -Steve Schering

10:29 am: When the corona virus breaks out, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says there are no plans to block the streets of Chicago from traffic and open it to sports

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had no intention of closing roads to traffic and opening them up to people who want to run and do exercises there.

“This is not in our immediate plans,” Lightfoot said at a press conference to praise people and businesses who support first responders.

Since Lightfoot has blocked the city’s lakefront path and adjacent parks, some green space enthusiasts and sports enthusiasts have been pushing to make roads available to pedestrians and cyclists so that they can do it outdoors more easily without being around.

When asked, Lightfoot said that this was not in the city’s plans, but reiterated that she had no problem with people being outside for her exercises.

“The problem is the assembly,” said Lightfoot. – Gregory Pratt

10:15 am: Staff at the college cafeteria seek help with mass layoffs

When the universities were empty due to the coronavirus pandemic and sent students home, dozens of cafeteria workers lost their jobs.

“Even in good times, these workers struggle to make ends meet,” said a union representative. “They have no savings to rely on now.”

Some colleges in the Chicago area have vowed to continue paying workers, and some private catering companies are trying to help vacation workers survive the storm while trying to keep their businesses alive. However, unions are demanding more support for marginalized workers. Read more here. – Elyssa Cherney

9:56 a.m .: Landlords ask tenants about coronavirus diagnoses. Can you do that?

While public health officials are carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19, some Chicago tenants have been surprised by diagnostic disclosure requests – not to medical professionals, but to their landlords.

Property managers of buildings across the city are asking residents to notify their landlords if they experience symptoms or are diagnosed with the corona virus.

However, city officials and tenants’ attorneys say that property managers are likely to care about everyone’s well-being, but that tenants are not legally required to disclose personal health information. Read more here. – Ariel Cheung

8:38 am: $ 1.2 million plan to expand capacity for domestic violence and survivor sexual assault services during a pandemic

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced on Thursday a $ 1.2 million plan to expand the capacity of services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While most Illinoisers adhere to the Stay at Home regulation, not everyone has a safe home,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker in a statement on Thursday. “If you are at risk of domestic violence or afraid of it, I know how scary or complicated the Stay Home message could sound.”

The plan provides for the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline to be a single point of contact for those seeking protection. The hotline staff connects callers to existing emergency shelters to prevent and intervene against domestic violence or emergency shelters in available hotels and motels.

IDHS will use the majority of the allocated $ 1.2 million to expand the domestic violence hotline. The remaining funds will be used to set up an emergency COVID-19 fund for local programs against domestic violence.

In addition to providing these new means to assist victims of domestic violence, Illinois will provide DVPI providers with three-month advances for grants to continue services during the current public health crisis. IDHS will also make advance payments to the Illinois Coalition’s scholarship holders against sexual assault and interventions against partner abuse.

“In times of crisis, domestic and sexual violence may increase while obstacles to services worsen,” IDHS secretary Grace Hou said in a statement on Thursday. “The health and safety of survivors during COVID-19 is of paramount importance to IDHS and Governor Pritzker. Today’s measures will ensure that access to these critical services continues.”

The Illinois Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-877-863-6338 or 1-877-863-6339 TTY. The hotline is available around the clock and is multilingual. Victims of domestic violence may also turn to local protection resource programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. – Antonia Ayres-Brown

8:35 a.m .: Employees at the Trump Hotel in Chicago among thousands in Illinois were fired in March for coronavirus

Nearly 300 Trump International Hotel & Tower employees were among more than 14,000 layoffs reported to the state in March. Most of these concerned the economic impact of the new corona virus when companies cut or closed their doors.

In a more typical month, Illinois’ monthly discharge report is on one or two widely spaced pages. For March, it was a table with nearly 200 entries, most of which listed COVID-19 as the cause of the dismissal. Read more here. – Mary Ellen Podmolik

6:30 a.m .: Lightfoot, provisional chief of police, thanks donors who have supported the police

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police provisional superintendent Charlie Beck should hold a press conference on Friday to thank more than 100 donors who “assisted Chicago police officers on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak,” the office said Mayor.

Other great examples of human goodness comes from Onahan Elementary School (not even located in 014) and the Kalck Family who brought us breakfast from @EinsteinBros & @cariboucoffee neither within our district, but from the look on Sgts face, we need them

— Chicago PD 14th Dist (@ChicagoCAPS14) March 30, 2020

Local and national companies, school groups, individuals, and chambers of commerce have donated everything from pizza to coffee to disinfectant wipes to local police departments across the city two weeks ago since the state ordered them to stay at home. – Chicago Tribune staff

5 am: “For us, time is now life.” Chinese community mobilized to provide medical care to hospitals in the Chicago region.

Xuerong Xia has been going to the hospital every day for a month. Her garage is now a dressing room, where she wears plastic shoe protection, a face mask, disposable gloves, and sunglasses before getting into her car, which is equipped with disinfectant wipes and alcohol.

The rest of their car is loaded with medical supplies donated by members of the Chinese community who have been fighting the corona virus since their inception in Wuhan. Now her focus is on fighting it here at home in the Chicago area.

They have donated tens of thousands of masks, hospital gowns, and goggles to hospitals, including the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Chicago Medical Center in the city, as well as the Edward Hospital and DuPage Medical Group in the western suburbs.

Read more here. – Grace Wong

5am: Mental health groups mobilize the virtual community for those who have been isolated by the coronavirus outbreak. “This is a lifeline for people”

While everyone seemed to be retreating to their homes amid the global pandemic, Kaitlin was amazed at the 15 people she saw every Thursday.

They all lived with depression or bipolar disorder and gathered in a church in downtown Chicago, where they cried, revealed hidden thoughts, encouraged each other, or listened silently. As the outbreak of the coronavirus forces an unprecedented distancing of human contact, Kaitlin fears that loneliness and isolation will negate the progress made.

“For many people, they feel they are going back to these traumatic times through isolation, even if for another reason,” said Kaitlin, 29, who didn’t want her surname used to speak frankly. “It reminds them more of being isolated from depression than from the global pandemic.”

Kaitlin serves as a moderator for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Last month, the group switched all meetings to the Zoom video conferencing platform and joined a network of other support groups and therapy sessions in the Chicago area to hold virtual meetings.

Outbreaks like the corona virus cause both emotional and physical damage. With the limitation that everyone reacts differently, the disease control and prevention centers warn that mental health problems during an outbreak may range from fear of the health of yourself and others to increased drug abuse. A 2015 study found that social isolation leads to depressive symptoms, cognitive decline, and even early mortality.

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