5/15/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Bright Spot & Press Conference Recap

Friday, May 15, 2020

Good afternoon, IDHS Staff:

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our facilities were forced to make adjustments to living areas in order to better accommodate and isolate patients who tested positive or exhibited symptoms.

Madden Mental Health Center was one of those facilities. With the development of an 8,000 square foot confinement suite, residents have been able to continue to be active and socially engaged. Where Madden and other facilities have made these adjustments, they have depended on quality health care professionals to make sure that infections did not increase and spread to others.

With more than 60 nurses, Madden was prepared to take on this challenge. For today's Bright Spot we'd like to highlight Perfecto Bermudez.

Today's Bright Spot: Perfecto Bermudez (Infection Prevention & Control Nurse, Madden Mental Health Center)

After 25 years of service, Perfecto has become a part of the fabric of Madden. He's served as a Nurse Administrator on Duty and CPR instructor, and is always assisting any pavilion in need of his help.

As Madden's Infection Prevention/Control Nurse, Perfecto has been tasked with the herculean job of identifying, investigating, monitoring, and reporting on health care-acquired infections, as well as procuring and distributing PPE, and educating and training Madden staff. When the screening of staff was initiated early in the course of the pandemic, Perfecto took the initiative to purchase thermometers using his own resources. Staff have also been educated on best practices and current CDC and IDPH guidelines on proper hygiene through posters, signage, and at times, direct observation with immediate remediation.

Fun Facts:

  • Married with 3 kids; Eldest son in active duty at Army National Guard/Combat Paramedic, assigned in COVID unit at a Correctional Facility
  • Has a "fur baby" Milo, a white and brown Shih Tzu
  • Favorite Bands: Coldplay, Green Day, and Aerosmith
  • Big foodie and likes to travel; been in 45 U.S. States and had Asian and European tour

It is a challenge to perform these duties in the best of circumstances, let alone in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Perfecto, and to all of our IDHS employees for continuing to exceed expectations.

Below, please also see the updates from the Governor's press conference yesterday.

COVID-19 Updates from the Governor's 05-14-2020 Press Conference

  • Unemployment Claims Processing: Governor JB Pritzker announced that the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released new statewide data showing that the Department processed 72,671 new initial claims for regular unemployment benefits during the week ending May 9. The Department has now processed 1,076,461 claims for regular unemployment benefits from March 1 through May 9. This amount is nearly 11.5 times the number of claims the department processed over the same period last year.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: The Governor noted that IDES has processed 33,729 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims (PEUC), which provides up to 13 weeks' worth of 100% federally-funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted their regular State unemployment benefits.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: The Governor also relayed that over 50,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims have been filed through the new IDES portal in the first three days of operation. Federal PUA funds provide assistance to 1099 and other self-employed workers who are not able to access traditional unemployment benefits.
  • Post-COVID Relocations: When asked if people may choose to move outside of highly-populated metropolitan areas after this pandemic to avoid future healthcare crises, the Governor noted that it could be a possibility, especially with statewide investment and improvement efforts in effect such as capital infrastructure plans like Rebuild Illinois and the $420 million dedicated for broadband access across Illinois.
  • Hospitalization Numbers: As of yesterday, there were 4,473 people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19. Of those, 1,132 were in the ICU, with 689 of them on ventilators.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 3,239 new cases reported in Illinois and 138 additional deaths.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS