Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday over $90 million in small business aid and a state income tax filing extension as coronavirus cases reach 1,865 and 19 deaths.
Three new coronavirus-related deaths were announced Wednesday which include a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s, and a Will County woman in her 50s. The number of cases, which have occurred in ages younger than 1-year-old all the way up to 99 years old, has risen by 330 since Tuesday.
Pritzker said at his daily press conference that the state is extending income tax filing and payment deadline by three months to July 15. The Department of Revenue (IDOR) will continue to process tax refunds for those filing ahead of the new deadline.
Pritzker also announced Wednesday that a more than $90 million fund will support three programs of emergency assistance for small businesses in need of capital.
“Our department is leveraging every resource we have available to support small businesses in these challenging times,” said Erin Guthrie, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“These funds will provide small businesses on the brink with much needed working capital to continue making payroll and paying other bills while our administration continues to advocate for additional resources from the federal government,” Guthrie said.
A $60 million fund will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago.
A $20 million fund will support small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses in communities served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development.
A $14 million fund will help small hospitality businesses make ends meet, providing up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels, state officials said.
Illinois businesses can apply to these programs on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.
On Tuesday, Pritzker laid out measures to increase COVID-19 testing and hospital capacity.
“We’re using a two-pronged approach to make sure a worst-case scenario does not become our reality,” said Pritzker.
“First, we put in place protective measures to suppress the spread, like our stay at home order, limits on gatherings and social distancing guidelines. Second, we are working to increase our health care capacity statewide so that when we do arrive at our next phase — which should not be our worst-case scenario but will be a point where hospitalizations significantly increase — we have the capacity to meet that need,” Pritzker added.
As of Tuesday, Pritzker said that 51% of hospital beds and 57% of ICU beds are filled, and almost 30% percent of all available ventilators are being used across the state.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has deployed 49 tents to area hospitals to set up triage centers outside their facilities to evaluate potential COVID-19 patients. In total, 66 of the state’s over 200 hospitals are operating with this expanded capacity. IEMA is working with 26 additional hospitals across the state to open new triage centers.
The majority of cases are in Cook County, followed by Lake and DuPage counties. Over 14,200 people have been tested in Illinois so far.
Pritzker’s ‘stay at home’ order, which was announced on Friday, remains in place throughout Illinois until April 7.