4/13/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Weekend Press Conference Recap

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Good afternoon:

Please see the updates from the Governors press conferences over the weekend. I also want to extend my gratitude to our Division of Mental Health for their work to launch Illinois new emotional support line, Call4Calm, at Saturdays press conference.

COVID-19 Updates from the Governors 04-12-2020 Press Conference

  • Apple Donation: Governor Pritzker expressed his gratitude to Tim Cook and Apple, Inc. for donating 100,000 N95 masks to Illinois this weekend. The Governor went on to say that we are very grateful for their generosity and of the generosity of so many companies, near and far, for stepping up to support their fellow Americans, and especially supporting the heroes here in our state.
  • Testing Capacity: Governor Pritzker was pleased to report that the State continues to increase its testing capacity, with almost 8,000 tests done over the last 24 hours. That is halfway between the roughly 6,000 a day average seen recently and the Governors next goal of 10,000 per day.
  • Bending the Curve: The percent of positive tests today is almost exactly the same as it has been for the last two weeks, and the death toll today is lower than it has been in six days. He urged Illinoisans to stay the course in continuing to employ social distancing techniques and other recommended precautions to keep moving the trend downward.
  • Cumulative Totals: To date, the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported a total of 20,852 cases across 86 counties in Illinois and 720 deaths. The age of positive cases range from younger that one year to older than 100.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 1,672 new cases reported and 43 additional deaths.

COVID-19 Updates from the Governors 04-11-2020 Press Conference

  • Emotional Support Text Line: IDHS Division of Mental Health launched a free of charge, emotional support text line called Call4Calm, designed for Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19. This is not a crisis hotline, but rather a source of support where people can text TALK to 552020 to receive a call from a caring counselor from a community mental health center who can be a listening ear for the challenges people are experiencing.
  • Remote Patient Monitoring: Governor Pritzker announced a remote patient monitoring program to allow those potentially infected with COVID-19 to recover from the safety of their homes. Through this program, health workers will digitally connect with patients through virtual visits and patients will receive wellness kits that include things like thermometers, oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and alcohol wipes.
  • Childrens Town Hall: At 5pm on Saturday the Governor hosted a virtual town hall for kids on the Lurie Childrens Hospital Facebook page to engage children in discussions and make sure that they know were thinking about them and are here for them.
  • Hospital Ventilators: While the Administration continues to scour the market to acquire more ventilators, through mapping and cataloging of available ventilators, the Governor was happy to relay that most regions have good coverage and support between hospitals, so even if one facility has a shortage there should be others in the area to step up and help. Of course, the Governor reiterated that he would rather have too many than too few and will continue search for additional ventilators.
  • Antibody Tests: While the State has been focused on current tests that identify who has the virus now, it has also been working with consultants and university partners to acquire antibody tests which will identify who has developed antibodies to the virus and is now immune. This is important data needed to identify when the State can start releasing restrictions while ensuring it is not risking further infection.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 1,293 new cases reported and 81 additional deaths.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS