The state of Illinois is taking numerous steps to mitigate the further spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. This email provides an overview and points you in the direction of accurate, up-to-date information.

 

Be aware of verified facts about COVID-19

According to the CDC, coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person. Act the same way you would act if you had the flu— if you think you may be sick, keep your distance from other people and always cover your coughs and sneezes.

The IDPH and the CDC have issued recommendations to help people avoid coming down with coronavirus. These tips are the same ones you can use to avoid flu or the common cold.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

Currently, the number of coronavirus cases in the state remains low, but it continues to climb. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has posted coronavirus case totals and test results on its website, updated daily.

As of this writing, more than 30 confirmed cases of the virus are present in Illinois, according to the most recent reports from our public health officials. The World Health Organization’s information about COVID-19 can be accessed here.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

If you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and have reason to believe you may have been exposed, the Centers for Disease Control recommendations include the following:

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

If you are at all unclear about how to proceed, call the 24-hour IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Public health officials will reach out to individuals who may have been exposed. They are actively monitoring the situation and will update the public in the event that certain measures— like school and business closures— are necessary.

Be prepared to stay home if you are sick

The governor and public health officials have also urged employers who can accommodate working from home to do so, and encouraged employees who are sick to remain at home. I understand that your individual circumstances may make you feel you must go in to work, but I urge you to stay home if you are sick.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) have announced they are taking additional steps to support workers and families affected by COVID-19. The administration will file emergency rules to clarify that individuals unemployed due to COVID-19 can generally qualify for unemployment benefits to the full extent permitted by federal law.

Per IDES, if an individual is off work through no fault of their own, they can seek unemployment insurance benefits from IDES. The emergency rules will provide assistance to individuals who may be restricted in the type of work they can perform due to COVID-19.

Be prepared to change plans

As of yesterday, the governor, Cook County Board president and mayor of Chicago have all issued bans on gatherings of more than 1,000 people and have issued their strong recommendation to cancel or postpone any event that involves a gathering of more than 250 people. All Chicago-based major league sports teams have voluntarily committed to cancelling games or playing without spectators until May 1. Legislative session in Springfield has been cancelled for this coming week.

I realize this affects weddings, church gatherings, school events, and other long-planned-for engagements, so please understand that these measures are not taken lightly. If you are in a position to cancel such a gathering or to decline to attend it, I urge you in the strongest terms to do so. Public health officials in all affected countries have stated that social distancing is the strongest means yet available to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Be wary of unverified information or fake cures

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of unverified and inaccurate information circulating in some corners of social media, and there are people looking to profit off of panic. Attorney General Kwame Raoul has issued a warning about hoaxes and scams related to COVID-19, including information about how to report them. It is of the utmost importance that you understand there is at present no vaccine and no cure. Claims to the contrary are aimed at exploiting you.

Based on the virus’ effect on other developed nations, it is my duty as a public servant to impress this upon you: There are likely very hard times ahead, and it will be up to each of us to do all we individually can to help our communities see it through. I urge you not only to take care of yourself and your family, but also to do whatever you safely can to help those you can.

I remain committed to serving and representing you. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my office by responding here or calling (773) 769-1717.

Sincerely,


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

 

Dear friends,

I’m writing to you to provide some information on the ongoing concerns about confirmed cases of Coronavirus here in the United States. As of now, a small handful of cases have been confirmed in Chicago among people who traveled directly from the city in China where the outbreak originated.

The Chicago Department of Public Health is working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health to monitor and respond to the situation. The risk to the United States — and Illinois in particular — have been deemed low, but as this outbreak coincides with flu season, it’s a good time to remember the usual precautions for disease prevention: Wash your hands frequently, sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow, and limit contact with anybody displaying flu-like symptoms.

And – although I know it’s not possible for everyone due to the realities many working folks face – if you feel sick, stay home from work or school, if at all possible.

For more information about the disease and the city’s response to it, you can visit the Chicago Department of Public Health’s information page here. The Illinois Department of Public Health has information here.

The Cook County Department of Public Health is also monitoring the situation, and you can visit their page here.

The Centers for Disease Control has more information about the U.S. response to the virus here.

Stay healthy and well.

Sincerely,
steans sig
Heather Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

State Senator Heather Steans issued the following statement on news that Virginia today became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment:

“Virginia’s historic action today, a century after the ERA was introduced and women gained the vote, should tell us that the time is long overdue for this to become the law,” Steans said. “The idea that our government should not have the power to discriminate on the basis of sex should not be controversial. Because of the time that has passed, there remains work to be done, but the American people have spoken loud and clear: It’s time for 28th Amendment.”

CHICAGO — Less than a month before cannabis cultivation and sale become legal in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation finalizing certain parts of the new statute alongside the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Heather A. Steans, at a ceremony in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood.

“When we embarked on the long road to legalization of adult-use cannabis, we set out not just to end bad drug policy and lay the groundwork for opportunity in a new industry,” Steans said, “we also sought ways to make amends for how drug enforcement has ravaged communities. As we stand poised for legalization on Jan. 1, I want to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to make this legislation a reality, and I want to remind all of us that to ensure we see justice, we must listen to the community and respond to their concerns swiftly.”

Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1557, sponsored by Steans, which makes adjustments to her earlier legislation legalizing cannabis use by those 21 or older in Illinois. Among clarifications in the bill were provisions explicitly stating it is illegal to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of cannabis and that it no longer is illegal to possess “drug paraphernalia” associated with cannabis use.

“Legalization has become possible because members of the public are more informed and more willing to demand justice in drug policy,” Steans said. “I want to thank them for showing that Illinois is ready to leave behind punishment and embrace healing.”

Other provisions in the new legislation clarify:

  • that background search results exclude expunged cannabis convictions.
  • that outstanding fines cannot be a barrier to expunging past cannabis convictions.
  • that dispensaries or retail tobacco stores can have areas to use cannabis on-site, with restrictions similar to tobacco use.

The consumption and sale of cannabis by those over the age of 21 becomes legal in Illinois Jan. 1.

COVID19 Updates

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