5/7/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Community Bright Spots & Press Conference Recap

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Good evening:

Below are two IDHS-supported organizations going above and beyond - they are the featured IDHS Community Bright Spots today.

Belvidere YMCA, Belvidere, IL

Starting this week, the Belvidere Family YMCA began assisting the Boone County Health Department with COVID-19 contact tracing. This truly meets the Y's mission of prevention and social responsibility. The Boone County Health Department is a small organization without the financial resources to hire additional staff. The need for additional assistance in this endeavor is significant, and the YMCA wanted to help their local health department in any way that they could. Confirmed positive cases are also expected to grow with expanded testing for COVID-19.

The Belvidere Family YMCA is one of the first Y's in the nation to be assisting with contact tracing; they have been presenting with their health department at a national level on how to duplicate such services with similar partnerships across the country. The health department felt the Y staff was the perfect fit for this program as they are trained in customer service and have a good rapport in the community as a trusted entity. Fifteen percent of the Y's staff will assist in these efforts. They will be completing the phone contact and computer work necessary to carry out the tracing and epidemiology around COVID-19. The more effort around contact tracing, the more quickly assistance can be mobilized in the community to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Center for Enriched Living (CEL), Riverwoods, IL

CEL is a nonprofit that serves teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and offers community engagement, fun with friends, and social enrichment. In addition, CEL provides programs for continued learning and growth, and skill-building for community-based employment for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

CEL is offering free virtual programs seven days a week. Participants do not have to be a member of CEL to join a virtual class or program and there is no charge for participating. Even though their doors are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their mission continues virtually - ensuring that people with IDD are included in community, achieve personal success, and enjoy a good quality of life.

Their virtual programs connect individuals to a caring, fun, and supportive community. Programs are free to any teen and adult who has a developmental disability. Their catalog of virtual programs includes teen and adult social clubs, cooking, book club, fitness, virtual travel and adventures, art classes, dance parties, and much more.

CEL realizes that there are some who do not have access to technology, so the organization now has a free Technology Lending Program where people can temporarily borrow an iPad or laptop. To join the CEL community and learn more about their FREE virtual programs and technology lending program, contact Michael Welsh at Michael@CenterForEnrichedLiving.org or 847.315.9920 or to see our current options, log on to www.CenterForEnrichedLiving.org/virtual-programs.

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

COVID-19 Updates from the Governor's 05-06-2020 Press Conference

  • Latinx Positive Rate: Governor JB Pritzker noted that of those who provided demographic information when getting tested for COVID-19, 16,000 of the 26,000 identifying as Hispanic tested positive for the virus. That is a positivity rate of 60% and nearly three times the state average.
  • Latinx Community Support: The Governor noted decades of institutional inequities and obstacles for members of the Latinx communities are now amplified in this pandemic, and that while we can't fix generations of history in the span of a few months, his Administration has prioritized testing partnerships in areas with significant populations who are more vulnerable to this virus, including in Latinx communities.
  • Testing Sites: The State now has over 200 public testing sites, a third of which are located in communities with a significant Latinx population, and all seven drive-thru sites that the State formally runs offer bilingual support for Spanish speakers. You can find your nearest public testing site on this page.
  • Discrimination: The Governor sadly relayed that while wearing a face covering in public is one of the most effective ways to combat spreading the virus, there have unfortunately been reports of misplaced assumptions about masks, leading to incidents of racial profiling against Latinx and African-American individuals, especially men. If you witness or experience mask-related discrimination or any form of discrimination, please report the incident to the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
  • Cumulative Totals: IDPH reported a total of 68,232 cases, including 2,974 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois since the pandemic started.
  • Hospitalization Numbers: As of May 5th, there were 4,832 people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19. Of those, 1,231 were in the ICU, with 780 of them on ventilators.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 2,270 new cases reported in Illinois and 136 additional deaths.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS