6/5/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou

Friday, June 5, 2020

Good morning colleagues:

While parts of our state and certain establishments are now open, subject to the Governor's Executive Order (EO) and IDPH guidelines, the whole IDHS organization -- managers, front-line employees, contract staff, and everyone in between - must continue to take precautionary measures in the interest of everyone's safety.

Tragically, as you know, over 5,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 in Illinois. We grieve those losses, which include some of our IDHS colleagues and facility residents.

Together we must continue to fight this virus and to protect ourselves, our co-workers, and those in our care. The best way to do this is to continue to appropriately don PPE in the workplace and to follow the Governor's recently released Executive Order that outlines how to be good and responsible neighbors.

Please take a moment to review the latest public health requirements (pasted below) and follow these common sense rules to protect the lives of our family members, our neighbors, and those in our care.

  • Practice social distancing. To the extent individuals are using shared spaces when outside their residence, including when outdoors, they must at all times and as much as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person who does not live with them.
  • Wear a face covering in public places or when working. Any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering (a mask or cloth face covering) shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance. This requirement applies whether in an indoor space, such as a store, or in a public outdoor space where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not always possible.
  • Elderly people and those who are vulnerable as a result of illness should take additional precautions. People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including elderly people and those with a health condition that may make them vulnerable, are urged to stay in their residence and minimize in-person contact with others to the extent possible.
  • Limit gatherings. Any gathering of more than ten people is prohibited unless exempted by this Executive Order. Nothing in this Executive Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or residence. Because in-person contact presents the greatest risk of transmission of COVID-19, Illinoisans are encouraged to continue limiting in-person contact with others and to expand their social contact cautiously. Gathering remotely continues to be the safest way to interact with those outside a household or residence.
  • Go outdoors. Public health guidance suggests that the risks of transmission of COVID-19 are greatly reduced outdoors as opposed to indoors. Where possible, Illinoisans are encouraged to conduct their activities outdoors.

We have all been entrusted to serve and support Illinois residents and our co-workers. This is a solemn and significant responsibility - especially now.

Thank you -- as always -- for your service and commitment.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS