5/14/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Community Bright Spots and Press Conference Recap

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Good afternoon:

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

Senior Services Plus, Inc., Alton, Illinois

Senior Services Plus, Inc. (SSP) is a nonprofit social service agency that offers opportunities and resources to people as they age. Their service line includes a Wellness Center and a Meals on Wheels Program, as well as travel, transportation, nonmedical in-home care services, and more.

SSP and Riverbend Head Start joined forces to create care packages for local families during the coronavirus pandemic. SSP not only provides support for seniors, but also provides services for other community members in times of need. Many families, especially with young children, have found it hard to visit stores during the COVID-19 closures. In April, the Head Start staff asked SSP to create care packages for families whose children are enrolled in Riverbend Head Start who added in stuffed animals, diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and school supplies to support learning at home. Click here to read a local news story on their efforts.

Gary Comer Youth Center, Chicago, IL

Gary Comer Youth Center provides youth development, academic enrichment, along with college and career readiness services. In the midst of uncertainty, Comer Education Campus is staying committed to providing meaningful education and enrichment programs for their youth and their community through virtual learning experiences that educate, inspire, and ignite creativity.

Their virtual learning center has evolved into a SPACE that provides connectivity, communication, and creative expression opportunities for young people to thrive during this challenging time. The Gary Comer Youth Center is currently hosting activities that create works of visual arts, culinary, and urban agriculture.

Programs include Robotics, Digital Design, Fitness with Paris, Little Bites with Chef Jon, and Music, the Arts Apprenticeship Visual Arts "Creative Sparks" Virtual program, Urban Agriculture Comer Crops, and Urban Agriculture with "Chef Carlos of The Promontory".

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the youth counseling program, which serves all youth in the building by providing in-person counseling sessions and therapeutic groups, as well as referrals to resources to support families, has also continued its work by moving online to provide counseling virtually. Their team of youth counseling professionals has been working to ensure the continued stability and reliability of mental health and wellness supports to their members through individual and family counseling sessions. They are also working to ensure families are connected to critical resources in their community at a time when they're needed the most.

Thank you to SSP and Gary Comer Youth Center, along with all of the IDHS-funded organizations who have adapted to continue serving people in every corner of our state.

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

COVID-19 Updates from the Governor's 05-13-2020 Press Conference

  • General Assembly Returning: Governor JB Pritzker relayed his appreciation that the Illinois General Assembly would be returning to Springfield later next week, and again called upon them to pass a COVID relief package for the families, small towns and small businesses of Illinois.
  • Stay the Course: Governor Pritzker expressed his understanding that there are some leaders advocating for reopening the economy faster or reopening some businesses in defiance of the Stay at Home order and Restore Illinois plan. However, he stated that he has no sympathy for those that are so intent on disregarding science and logic and afraid of telling their constituents what they may not want to hear that they put more people's lives at risk. He emphasized this, noting that the previous 24 hours saw the highest death count (192) in Illinois to date.
  • Consequences: The Governor warned that there will be consequences for the small contingent of businesses that choose to ignore medical doctors and the data and to ignore their legal obligations for the residents of their communities. He expanded on that by stating that businesses and individual professionals that are licensed by State agencies will be held accountable for breaching public health orders, and counties that try to reopen in defiance may not be reimbursed by FEMA for damages they cause because they ignored the law.
  • Child Inflammatory Syndrome: In response to the possible cases of child inflammatory ("shock") syndrome being reported across the nation, IDPH Director Dr. Ezike announced that her agency has put together a team of pediatric infectious disease specialists, pediatric cardiologists, and pediatric intensivists to study this issue and offer agreed upon criteria and guidance moving forward.
  • Hospitalization Numbers: As of yesterday, there were 4,563 people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19. Of those, 1,208 were in the ICU, with 714 of them on ventilators.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 1,677 new cases reported in Illinois and 192 additional deaths.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS