COVID-19 Cases in IL Increasing as State Reopens

COVID-19 Cases in IL Increasing as State Reopens

July 15th, 2020- The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois is increasing as the state reopens, more people return to work and quarantine fatigue sets in – a confluence of events that has led some public health officials to remind people about the importance of personal responsibility. 

The increase in Illinois is not like the resurgence that some other states have reported. However, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for three consecutive days at the end of last week. State public health officials said that the seven-day positivity rate for positive cases as a percent of total tests from July 6 to July 12 was 3.0 percent.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently tweeted out a reminder about the need for people to maintain vigilance. 

“We remain concerned that cases are rising and positivity rates are inching up,” he said. “Now more than ever, we must rely on what the science is telling us. Wearing a face covering is an effective tool in the fight against #covid19.”  

Others blame “COVID fatigue” for the uptick.

Officials warned that a significant rise in cases could put increase the number of hospitalizations, which could slow the state’s reopening or move it backward on Pritzker’s five-phase reopening plan. Illinois moved into Phase 4 of the governor’s reopening plan in late June. 

While the state’s case count is rising, other metrics remain relatively flat. 

The seven-day trend in hospitalizations remains lower than it had been last month, at 1,342 as of July 11.

Yesterday, the state reported 707 new cases. 

Land of Lincoln Credit Union Donates $10,000 to the Decatur Junior Football League

Land of Lincoln Credit Union Donates $10,000 to the Decatur Junior Football League

July 6th, 2020- The Decatur Junior Football League got some needed financial help after a theft of the league’s equipment.

Land of Lincoln Credit Union donated $10,000 to the Decatur Junior Football League after a recent burglary of its equipment. With the donation, Decatur JFL will be able to purchase replacement protective equipment (50 helmets and 50 shoulder pads). Additionally, the donation will provide funding for scholarships for 30 participants.
“Programs like Decatur JFL are critical to our community,” states Robert Ares, LLCU President/CEO. “The positive impact of a program like this is impossible to measure and we felt a strong responsibility to do what we could to ensure the program could continue and thrive.”
The league currently has 4 flag football teams, as well as a tackle team in each grade level from 5 th – 8 th grade. The league provides an opportunity for cheerleaders at each grade level, as well.
“This donation from LLCU will help replace the equipment, but it will go even further,” stated Tony Wilkins, JFL President. “Due to the pandemic, parents of a lot of the JFL kids are currently unemployed and so, a portion of this donation will help us to provide scholarships to those that might not otherwise be able to participate. JFL doesn’t just stand for Junior Football League, but also for Junior Future Leaders. Those future leaders are what LLCU is investing in and for that, we are extremely grateful.”
Decatur JFL provides a summer activity for nearly 200 youth with over 80% of the participants coming from low-income households. For this reason, the league wanted to avoid raising fees to cover the cost of the stolen equipment. “I had the great opportunity of coming up through the Junior Football League. I was a Junior Future Leader and now I am a Leader in the community, so I know firsthand the kind of impact this program has on youth,” said Macon County Sheriff Tony Brown.
New Grant Program for Non-Profits To Provide Food And Housing Assistance

New Grant Program for Non-Profits To Provide Food And Housing Assistance

June 29th, 2020- A grant program to help small non-profit organizations provide food and housing assistance will begin taking applications on July 1.

The Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund assists small non-profits with annual budgets of $1 million or less. Money comes from filing fees non-profits pay when incorporating in the state of Illinois, not personal or property tax dollars.

For this grant cycle, $375,000 is available to be split between 30 non-profits. The maximum award amount is $12,500 for each organization. More than $2.2 million has been awarded to 100 non-profit organizations through the Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund since the program was established in 2017. Awardees are selected by an 11-member board, which oversees the management and guidelines of the fund.

Previous grant recipients are eligible to apply if the term of their grant has been complete for at least one calendar year.

The upcoming application period runs from July 1 – September 30, 2020. Visit ilcharitabletrust.com to complete an application online.

LISTEN: Decatur Park District Update with Bill Clevenger

LISTEN: Decatur Park District Update with Bill Clevenger

June 29th, 2020- Bill Clevenger of the Decatur Park District joins Byers & Co. to talk about the recent large gathering in the parking lot of the Devon Amphitheater, the reopening of more attractions at Overlook Adventure Park, future reopening plans at the zoo, and the park district being up for a gold medal award. Listen to the podcast now.

LISTEN: Charmaine Robertson-Stoner

LISTEN: Charmaine Robertson-Stoner

June 24th, 2020- Charmaine Robertson-Stoner talks about the importance to take an emotional temperature, how being wired for connection can lead to challenges, being mindful of our peers, changing your approach to open up discussions, how to talk about race-related issues, and setting small, measurable goals to make lasting change. Listen to the podcast now.

Coziahr Harley–Davidson 2020 Blessing of the Bikes

Coziahr Harley–Davidson 2020 Blessing of the Bikes

June 9th, 2020- Coziahr Harley–Davidson will hold it’s 2020 Blessing of the Bikes on Sunday, June 14th at 2 pmThis year marks the 28th Blessing and is held at the dealership in Forsyth. The Macon County Sheriff’s Department will assist in directing traffic for riders’ safety. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will have a group blessing instead of individual blessings to allow for social distancing. Notorious P.I.G will provide food for purchase beginning at 12 pm. The overall blessing will begin promptly at 2 pm. 

U of I Extension Webinar Offered for Restaurants

U of I Extension Webinar Offered for Restaurants

May 27th, 2020- The University of Illinois Extension will host a two-part Webinar Series to help offer Restaurants support in exploring their options once re-opened.

The two webinars will cover, management issues, and planning for ways to make the reopen safe. The webinar series will be offered in two parts, Financial Considerations on May 28th and Opening Safely on June 4th.

Part 1 – Financial Considerations (REGISTER HERE) 
Thursday, May 28, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. CST
Part 2 -Opening Safely (REGISTER HERE)
Tuesday, June 4, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.

Part one of the webinar will explore the processes and considerations restaurants must address as they develop plans to open and get back to work in a safe environment, restore their livelihoods, and reboot our state’s economy. Broadline food distributors will give their views on anticipated supply costs and strategies to buffer unanticipated increased costs. Reopening will require a careful analysis of alternative food service models which may include food subscription, take-out menu expansion, grocery market kits, online ordering, and delivery/pickup. Each option requires a break-even analysis specific to your business. A panel of professionals will join the discussion. The panel includes Chef Dustin Allen of Edge, along with U of I Food Science and Human Nutrition staff Jorden Brotherton, clinical assistant professor, and Carter Phillips, instructional chef, and quantity food manager. Gretchen Ernst, customer support manager with Gordon Food Service, will provide broadliner perspective.

Part two of the webinar will feature compliance resources and disinfectant practices which allow for a safe physical environment for patrons and staff. Strategies for instilling consumer confidence will be offered, as well as approaches for enhancing the customer experience while adhering to new operational guidelines. Tristan Popadziuk, owner and roastmaster for [CxT] Roasting Company, will provide advice as an operator.

Hospitals To Receive $75 Million To Continue Fight Against COVID-19

Hospitals To Receive $75 Million To Continue Fight Against COVID-19

May 12th, 2020- Illinois hospitals have begun receiving $75 million in new stability payments to help fight COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced today. The funds will help hospitals continue to provide essential COVID-19 services to their communities in the coming weeks and months.

“We recognize that hospitals on the front lines against COVID-19 need support and they need it now,” said Theresa Eagleson, HFS director. “We’re incredibly thankful to the medical professionals who are serving Illinoisans during this public health crisis, and we are committed to doing all we can to help them.”

Stability payments are being issued in installments until July 1, 2020, through the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) partners. Hospitals began receiving the first installments in late April.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the healthcare industry. While some providers have experienced an onslaught of suspected or infected patients, others have a looming shortfall of revenue due to delayed elective procedures or patients with chronic conditions seeking care in different ways that reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

“This added support to face the COVID-19 crisis and the aftermath will be crucial to communities that are at the front lines of the fight,” said Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Senate Majority Leader and Joint Caucus Chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “Hospitals are vital not only for healthcare but as engines of economic opportunity and jobs.  We must continue providing the resources they need for their staff, their patients, and their surrounding neighborhoods.”

To offer further support, a bipartisan working group created last year to extend the Hospital Assessment Program has agreed to a proposal that would bring nearly $250 million more dollars annually to hospitals throughout the state. This will maximize federal participation in Medicaid and move to a more dynamic payment system that is responsive to the needs of individual member decisions on where to seek care.

“Hospitals perform a central role in every community throughout our state,” said Senator Heather Steans. “The importance of hospitals has never been higher, so our support should be stronger, especially for hospitals relying more on state Medicaid resources for funding. I’m pleased that we all came together in a bipartisan manner to accomplish this goal.”

The Department has submitted the proposal to the federal government and advocated for quick approval to solidify the future for hospitals across the state.

“With this proposal, we ensure that more Medicaid dollars will come into Illinois, with vital support being directed to those who are most in need,” said Senator Dave Syverson, Senate Republican Leader. “As Illinois continues to fight COVID-19, this strong hospital assessment program will provide much-needed resources to those who have been indispensable to all of us and who will continue offering such essential protection and care in the future.”

Overall, $3.8 billion would be provided to hospitals through the renewed assessment program. In addition to the additional funding, $150 million dollars would be offered to hospitals for innovative future healthcare projects under guidelines that are being developed.

“It has never been more crucial for all of us to come together and support hospitals throughout Illinois,” said Representative Tom Demmer, Deputy Republican Leader. “With this proposal, we are committing resources to the professionals who are working every day to protect us and our communities.”

“For communities of color that have always faced immense healthcare challenges and are now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, the hospital assessment program agreement will offer a range of necessary resources and support,” said Representative Elizabeth Hernandez, co-chair, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus. “Those who are risking themselves every day deserve nothing less than our unwavering help.”

With authorization from the General Assembly and approval from the federal government, the new program would operate from July 1, 2020 until the end of 2022.

“As one who has dedicated their life’s work to supporting quality healthcare and hospitals, I believe it is essential that we all come together at this time of emergency to bring more resources to the courageous men and women who are protecting our communities,” said Representative Camille Lilly. “This proposal will play a significant part in accomplishing that mission.”

HFS has also submitted several federal Medicaid waivers asking for new flexibilities for patients and providers. The department is still awaiting federal guidance on some of the requests. Information about submitted and approved new flexibilities, including new expansive guidance on telehealth options, can be found on the HFS website at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

More information for clients and providers is available on the HFS website at www.HFS.Illinois.gov. Individuals wanting to apply for benefits or check on their case are encouraged to visit www.ABE.illinois.gov.