Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 5/8/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- new lawsuits against the Governor
- Chicago Mayor’s reopening plan
- new unemployment call center
- IDPH’s draft recommendations for the General Assembly
- state’s test positivity rate
- Two Chicago-area churches have now challenged Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, claiming it violates their right to worship. The federal lawsuit was filed late Thursday and asks the court for a temporary restraining order allowing services to continue; the churches vowed to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. The 46-page lawsuit was issued to U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman, who said in an order today that he would not have a decision before Sunday services, giving Governor Pritzker until Saturday evening to file a response. A hearing, if any, will be held next week.
- Peoria businessman Adam White has filed suit against Governor Pritzker for his stay-at-home order, asking for a temporary restraining order. White claims that the order is unconstitutional and therefore does not apply to his business, RC Outfitters, echoing lawsuits by two Illinois lawmakers against Governor Pritzker. In addition to filing suit, RC Outfitters reopened on Monday, defying the stay-at-home order’s designation of his business as non-essential.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her plan to re-open the Chicago economy, which requires meeting benchmarks tougher than those in Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan. Lightfoot announced a five-phase plan, stating that Chicago is currently in phase two. Before moving into phase three, the city would need to see:
- a 14-day decline in the COVID-19 case rate
- a declining rate of new cases
- a stable or declining rate of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths
- fewer than 1,800 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds
- fewer than 600 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds
- fewer than 450 COVID-19 patients on ventilators
Additionally, Lightfoot would like to see at least 135,000 residents tested a month, with positive rates decreasing below 15% and an average of at least 14 days of declining rates of new cases.
- Governor Pritzker announced that help is coming for residents who are trying to file for unemployment. An abundance of residents have been unable to contact the Department of Employment Security via the telephone. But the Governor announced a new unemployment call center will open on Monday, with 100 new agents to field calls. He also announced upgrades to the IDES website to facilitate faster processing of unemployment benefits applications online.
- The Department of Public Health has released draft recommendations for the return of the General Assembly. The recommendations are meant to help the General Assembly when it reconvenes its session activities, although it is unclear when that will be. The draft recommendations appear to present some challenges, considering there are over one hundred State Senators and Representatives and countless staff members.
- The Department of Public Health has reported an increase of 138 deaths from yesterday, with a total of 3,111 deaths within the state. However, testing has increased and exceeded 20,000 daily tests for the first time since testing began. The test positivity rate is 14.8%; Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan calls for regions to be at or under a 20% test positivity rate before regions can proceed to another phase of the Plan.