Illinois announces 488 new COVID-19 cases, eight new fatalities

Coronavirus Watch

FILE – In this Oct. 28, 2019 file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions during a news conference at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has spent at least $3 million of his own money for state expenses including staff raises and building renovations. Experts call the practice is troubling because money spent from private funds isn’t subject to open records laws and that it gives wealthy candidates an edge. A Pritzker spokeswoman defended the practice, saying the Democrat believes Illinoisans are worth investing in. (Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP File)

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CHICAGO (WEHT)- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 488 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, along with eight fatalities. 40 counties in the state have confirmed cases, though are are currently no confirmed cases in Edwards, Wabash, Wayne, or White counties.

Officials say 86 percent of the deaths that have been reported have come from patients over 60 years old. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker called on President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act, which would increase production on medical equipment, like ventilators.

Pritzker also announced that the state has received 510 applications for temporary medical licenses from former medical professionals looking to help in the fight against the virus.

In addition, Pritzker says food benefits like SNAP will be increased, giving an extra $80 million to Illinois families in need. SNAP feeds over 1.7 million Illinoisans and 900,000 households including low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and working families.

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced a 5 percent increase for initiatives supporting the homeless, providing an extra $6 million for 19 Continuums of Care across the state and an extra $2 million to support housing and other services. Authorities say decisions will be made at a local level.

Child care providers allowed to keep operating during the pandemic will receive stipends to address increased costs. Licensed homes will receive $750, while centers with one or two open classrooms will receive $2,000, and centers with three or more classrooms will receive $3,000.

Applications for these centers will be available Monday through their local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

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(This story was originally published on March 27, 2020)

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