Governor Pritzker announced a Chicago infant with coronavirus is the first in the U.S. to die after contracting the virus as Illinois cases reach nearly 3,500 with 47 deaths.
“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said that there were 465 new cases and 13 new virus-related deaths since Friday, bringing the state’s total to 3,491 cases.
More than 85% of fatalities are among patients 60 years of age and older, state health officials said. The number of people tested for COVID-19 so far is at 25,429, data shows.
“We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us,” Ezike said.
Pritzker said that the Army Corps of Engineers is working to convert McCormick Place convention center in Chicago into a field hospital for coronavirus patients.
Pritzker announced Friday the Illinois Department of Human Services is increasing monthly benefit amounts, expanding SNAP access, and expediting process and flexibility of the program. For many people, this will mean almost doubling their existing benefits, the governor’s office said.
The expansion will result in almost $80 million more for Illinois families. SNAP feeds nearly 1.7 million people, including low-income seniors, people with disabilities and working families.
“It is especially important now that we are doing all that we can to help all our residents through this crisis – we want every eligible person to be able to access our services as easily as possible,” Pritzker said.
An additional $7 million in funding has been made available to support housing and other services for people experiencing homelessness.
450 Illinoisans have submitted applications to rejoin the health care workforce, Pritzker said on Thursday.
A program called the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund has been established and already raised $23 million. The money will be distributed to non-profit groups to help with emergency food and basic supplies for people impacted by the virus.
The majority of COVID-19 cases are in Cook County, followed by Lake and DuPage counties.
Pritzker’s ‘stay at home’ order, which was announced on March 20, remains in place throughout Illinois until at least April 7.