Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that 43 people have died of COVID-19 in the past day — the lowest it’s been in six days — and that many of the state’s 20,000 cases have recovered.
Pritzker said that there were 1,672 new cases since Saturday and that the number of completed tests within the past day was 7,956, which is the most completed in the state in one day.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the state’s COVID-19 total has reached 20,852 cases and 720 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 100,735, data shows.
“I’ve spoken before about a stabilizing or a bending of the curve, and today is one more piece of evidence that it may indeed be happening,” Pritzker said at his Sunday press conference.
He also noted that the percent of those who tested positive is almost exactly the same as it has been the past two weeks.
“The death toll today is lower than it has been in six days. I pray as we move forward these trends continue, and if they do it will be because of all of you adhering to our stay-at-home order,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker believes that less than 20% of Illinois residents have been exposed to coronavirus and recovered from it, so the state has not reached “herd immunity.”
The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.
Those who would like to anonymously speak to a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” to 552020. People can also text words such as unemployment, food or shelter to 552020 and receive information on how to navigate and access support.
On Saturday, Pritzker also announced the state has launched a new Remote Patient Monitoring Program utilizing Telehealth Services and Pandemic Health Worker (PHW) Programs in partnership with OSF HealthCare and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
“To help see all our residents through this pandemic, the Department has contracted for these specific at-home COVID-19 supports for anyone in the state regardless of whether they are insured,” said Theresa Eagleson, Director of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
“We’ve also significantly expanded telehealth and remote options to ensure access to health care, including addiction and mental health treatment, for our over 3 million Medicaid members,” Eagleson added.
Pandemic Health Workers (PHWs) will digitally connect with members in the community who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to stay home or quarantine to protect themselves and others.
PHWs will virtually visit recipients daily, deliver wellness kits that include essential tools to monitor their health, and follow-up over a 14-day period to ensure no further assistance is needed. Wellness kits will include items such as thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and alcohol wipes.
“Through this statewide program, the state of Illinois will safeguard hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, limit the spread of the virus, and digitally support those needing care,” the governor’s office said.
A person is eligible for the program if he or she is showing COVID-19 symptoms, or is at high risk for contracting the virus, but does not require emergency or inpatient care, and can be digitally monitored at home. A person must call the COVID-19 hotline for a final determination of eligibility for the Pandemic Health Worker Program, officials said.