12/03/20 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: IDHS Launches Outreach Campaign to Support the State's Latinx and Immigrant Communities and announce 14 new Welcoming Centers across Illinois

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Dear Stakeholders,

Building on Governor JB Pritzker's commitment to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) launched a statewide outreach campaign to Latinx and immigrant communities facing disproportionately high COVID-19 positivity rates. The campaign communicates in Spanish and 16 other languages to help empower community members to protect their health and that of their family members.

The Latinx community has a positivity rate of more than 20%, nearly double the positivity rate among all other races and ethnicities, and accounts for 21% of positive cases in the state.

The campaign aims to:

  • Empower employees to protect their health in the workplace so they can protect their families' health at home
  • Combat the stigma around the virus in immigrant and refugee communities
  • Remind community members to limit holiday gatherings and ceremonies

The campaign provides community members with guidance about the symptoms of COVID-19, social distancing, PPE use, free testing sites, how to stop the spread of the virus, what to do if you're sick, how to manage COVID-19 symptoms at home, and how to care for sick family members in multi-generational households.

In addition to direct community outreach, the administration continues to work with local health departments on contact tracing which is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The State's contact tracing program relies on trained public health workers who answer questions, alleviate concerns, and provide resources to ensure Illinoisans who either test positive or have been in contact with someone who tested positive have access to the resources and information that they need. Contact tracers make calls in both English and Spanish. To make it easier for Illinois residents to identify when a contact tracer is attempting to get in contact with them, all calls made by contact tracers have the caller ID "IL COVID HELP."

Additionally, 14 new Welcoming Centers across the state have received funding to provide immigrant and refugee support services, bringing the total number of Welcoming Centers operating in Illinois to 30. The Illinois Welcoming Center is a comprehensive service center for the integration of immigrants and refugees in Illinois. The Illinois Welcoming Center's innovative model eliminates systemic barriers that immigrants may have in approaching State services and empowers immigrant communities to succeed. For more information about immigrant and refugee support services, visit www.coronavirus.illinois.gov or call 312-793-7120.

Thank you,

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS