4/9/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Bright Spot and Press Conference Recap

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Good morning, IDHS Staff:

I have another Bright Spot to share with you today. IDHS state operated facilities operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week; there are seven psychiatric hospitals and seven developmental centers. The largest developmental center is Shapiro and is located in Kankakee with a staff of nearly 1,200 and 477 residents.

Unfortunately, like other centers, Shapiro is not immune to the pandemic, and there have been positive cases of staff and residents. The team at Shapiro is strong, dedicated, and experienced and has developed partnerships with state and local agencies and hospitals in Kankakee County to best meet the needs of residents diagnosed with COVID-19. Training, as well as donated technology and equipment from Riverside Healthcare and AMITA Health St. Marys Hospital, will enable Shapiro to enhance the care the facility can provide to residents.

A member of Shapiro's medical team is todays Bright Spot: Rita Pavate, MD.

Todays Bright Spot: Rita Pavate, MD (Interim Medical Director Shapiro Developmental Center)

With teamwork and leadership from Dr. Pavate, Shapiro is providing the best care possible for patients that have been affected by COVID-19. Dr. Pavate has served as the lead contact at Shapiro in collaborating with Riverside Healthcare and AMITA Health St. Marys Hospital. Dr. Pavate's knowledge, guidance, and willingness to assist Shapiro Center has been unwavering and has been critical in the care of those who are COVID-19 positive and those who are symptomatic or have potentially had exposure.

Dr. Pavate has been a member of the Shapiro team since 2001 and has always played a pivotal role in providing medical services for patients at the facility. Dr. Pavate graduated from Lady Hardinge Medical College at the University of Delhi and completed her residency program at Cook County Hospital. She is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician.

I am proud of Dr. Pavata and the entire team at Shapiro and am grateful for the partnerships and support from local partners.

I also want to continue to provide updates from the Governors press conference. Below is information from yesterdays COVID-19 press conference.

COVID-19 Updates from the Governors 04-08-2020 Press Conference

  • Testing Capacity: Governor Pritzker announced that the state recently surpassed 6,000 tests per day, but we will not reach the 10,000 mark this week, as he had hoped. The Administration continues to implement ways to increase testing capacity, including partnering with companies and suppliers in the space and buying new testing machines.
  • Illinois Leading the Way: The Governor praised the scientists, technicians, academics, and innovators here in Illinois who are leading the nation in research and development around COVID-19, including being the first state to validate the original CDC test back in February and the first state to test independently. He added that we are currently leading the pack in working toward treatments, preventions, and cures.
  • Response Fund: The COVID-19 Response Fund has raised over $28 million in a few short weeks from over 2,000 individual, corporate, and foundation donors. This morning the fund announced its first round of grant distributions including $5.5 million to 30 organizations that serve families across our state by providing vulnerable populations with access to food, shelter, and health care.
  • McCormick Center: The Illinois Air National Guard will use two C-130 cargo planes to transfer 250 negative pressure tents from Oregon to Chicago this evening for use at the McCormick Center alternative care site. This will be the first of three deliveries over the next few weeks as the Army Corps of Engineers nears completion of construction at the Center.
  • Slowing Rate of Rise: Dr. Ezike, the Director of the Dept. of Public Health, relayed with guarded optimism that the rate of increase in daily cases appears to be transitioning to more of a slower, linear (straight line) increase as opposed to the exponential (curved line) rate that we saw early in the crisis.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 1,529 new cases reported and 82 additional deaths.

Keep up the amazing work, IDHS.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS