5/6/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Bright Spot & Press Conference Recap

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Good afternoon, IDHS staff:

Across our agency, our team works in hundreds of different offices and capacities, but we share a common goal: to serve the residents of Illinois. Every office plays an integral role in assisting families during their most difficult times, whether through Domestic Violence Victims Services, Rehabilitation Services offices, Rape Crisis Centers, or the Family & Community Services (FCS) local offices.

FCS is considered IDHS' "one-stop" center for cash and medical assistance, food stamps, and job services. With businesses closing and the unemployment rate rising in Illinois, families are increasingly turning to FCS for SNAP benefits. It is a challenging time, but our team is rising to help those who need support.

That's why, in today's Bright Spot, I am excited to highlight the fantastic work of one of IDHS' FCS employees, Trina Warren.

Today's Bright Spot: Trina Warren (Acting Regional Training Coordinator - Region 5)

On April 12th, we sent out a request to IDHS managers seeking a few people to temporarily serve as Facility Managers at local hotels set up by IEMA to provide alternative housing for non-acute COVID-19 patients and first responders. Trina quickly accepted the challenge and has been coordinating with hotel operations, maintenance, contracted staff, and hotel occupants.

In ordinary times, Trina serves as Acting Regional Training Coordinator for Region 5 FCS, where she oversees training and supervises Staff Development Specialists. Trina has been with IDHS for 22 years, and has spent the last two weeks on assignment at a local hotel.

In that role, Trina has excelled - receiving information from public health departments and reporting data to IEMA, while also conveying the needs to hotel staff to ensure proper booking. With the exceptional leadership she has provided during this pandemic, Trina was asked to extend her initial two-week assignment.

Trina has a 16-year-old daughter, and is a fan of antiquing in her spare time.

Trina, thank you for stepping up to serve beyond your role to serve our community. We look forward to welcoming you back to IDHS after the completion of your assignment.

Please see the updates from the Governor's press conference yesterday.

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

  • Restore Illinois: Governor JB Pritzker announced Restore Illinois, a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The five-phase plan is guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each phase. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. You can read the full plan in its entirety here.
  • Regionalization: Four health regions are established, each with the ability to independently move through a phased approach: Northeast Illinois; North-Central Illinois; Central Illinois; and Southern Illinois. The phases, which each region, depending on the circumstances, can progress or fall back to, are detailed, below.
  • Phase 1 - Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
  • Phase 2 - Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating, and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
  • Phase 3 - Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
  • Phase 4 - Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
  • Phase 5 - Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place, reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hospitalization Numbers: As of May 4th, there were 4,780 people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19. Of those, 1,266 were in the ICU, with 780 of them on ventilators.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 2,122 new cases reported in Illinois and 176 additional deaths.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS