New state program aims for ‘one-on-one connections’ in communities to combat COVID-19

New state program aims for ‘one-on-one connections’ in communities to combat COVID-19

By SARAH MANSUR
Capitol News Illinois
smansur@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new state program Monday that aims to increase vaccine access in low-income, vulnerable communities and to connect residents across the state to COVID-19 assistance programs for transportation, food, utilities or other resources.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Health Navigator Program serves areas of the state outside of Chicago and Cook County, and is funded by $60 million in grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to regional organizations.  

“This program is about one-on-one connections involving established, trusted members of the community, whether that’s a federally qualified health center or a church or an LGBTQ+ center, a senior center or a local branch of the NAACP,” Pritzker said at a news conference at VNA Health Care in Aurora.

The program is administered through the Illinois Public Health Association, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association and OSF Healthcare System and is already in operation in communities across the state, the governor’s office said in a news release. Information on how to connect with the program can be found at www.HelpGuideThrive.org.

“These are local community organizations who know their peers, their students, their colleagues, people who speak their languages and know their neighborhoods,” Pritzker said. “When someone tests positive for COVID-19 or comes in contact with someone else who has, pandemic health navigators are there, ready to assist with social service supports, personal care, education, vaccine access and even critical logistics like ensuring access to groceries and food when a person has to isolate.”

The program’s soft launch earlier this year began with efforts to supply community-based organizations and federally qualified health centers with funding, training and resources to provide local health care support to Illinois residents, according to a state news release.

To date, 65 community-based organizations and 23 federally qualified health centers are participating in the program, with more than 400 community health workers and regional supervisors employed thus far, according to the release.

Cyrus Winnett, interim president and CEO of the IPHCA, said the program seeks to address misconceptions around the pandemic and the vaccine, as well as vaccine hesitancy that exists in marginalized communities.

“While services offered by local health departments can vary, the PHN program seeks to reach populations that are not currently accessing or seeking quality care, including but certainly not limited to racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities, people experiencing homelessness, members of the LGBTQIA community, and more,” he said. “By collaborating with community-based organizations and local health departments, we are identifying gaps in services and providing much needed resources to people who need them the most.”

Pritzker said the state is in an “interim period” where vaccine demand and supply are about the same, and supply may soon exceed demand.

“And so, we’ve made sure… the county public health departments that no longer need replenishing of supplies, at least at the moment, are not taking new vaccines. And instead, those vaccines are going to areas where there is still higher demand,” Pritzker said. “I’m looking forward to a point where anybody and everybody who wants to get a vaccine can literally decide to do it or get it at the moment that they’ve made that decision.”

A total of more than 8.86 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Sunday evening, out of more than 10.91 million doses received by the state, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

On Sunday, 50,512 doses were administered in Illinois, with the seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily at 105,873 doses – down from an average of more than 125,000 one week ago.

More than 3.79 million Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or about 29.75 percent of the state population.

On Monday, Pritzker acknowledged the transition to lessened statewide restrictions from the current Phase 4 guidelines has been hampered by increasing cases and hospitalizations, despite progress with vaccinations.

Even as vaccination levels have exceeded 50 percent for all Illinoisans and 70 percent of seniors having received at least one dose – two metrics required to move to the “bridge phase” that allows for greater reopening – the number of cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 have risen statewide. Cases and hospitalizations must remain stable in order for the state to move to the bridge phase or Phase 5, which is essentially back to normal in terms of capacity limitations.

The state reported 2,137 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 Monday out of 49,236 tests conducted. The rolling seven-day statewide case positivity rate was 3.5 percent Monday for the third straight day.

That’s down one-tenth of a percentage point from Friday, three-tenths of a point from April 22, and nearly a full point from its recent peak of 4.4 percent on April 13.

As of Sunday night, 251 COVID-19-positive individuals were on ventilators, with the weekly average ventilator use about 16 percent higher from Monday to Sunday than the one-week period prior. There were 506 COVID-19 patients using intensive care unit beds as of Sunday night, with the weekly average use about 4.5 percent higher from the week prior.

There were 2,083 hospital beds in use on Sunday night, while the weekly hospital bed usage increased about 1.3 percent from the week before, which was the lowest weekly rate of increase in the past five weeks.

The state reported 10 additional deaths due to COVID-19 related illness on Monday, bringing the statewide death toll to 21,836 individuals.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Peggy Zabicki

Brother, what a day today is

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . May 24 is National Brothers Day. The word “brother” comes from the Latin root for “frater” and the Proto-Germanic word “brothar” which itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root “bhrater.”  I’m sure everyone already knows that, but…

Mary Stanek

May your Memorial Day be meaningful

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . I hope we all will have a meaningful Memorial Day. Let us remember that this day is set to honor military personnel who died in service of their country. Memorial Day also marks…

volleyball

Boys Volleyball | Sandburg seeks 26th regional title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Coming off the worst season in program history in 2023, Sandburg was not going to settle for anything less than better results this year. Past the midway point of this season, however, the Eagles had a record of 11-8. But they closed the regular season strong, winning 11 of…

Reavis players celebrate after the Rams clinched the South Suburban Red title with a 3-0 win over Oak Lawn. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Red-hot Reavis looks to make noise in postseason

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Reavis is determined to send their head coach Don Erickson into retirement on a high note and will head into the postseason red hot and as South Suburban Red champions. The Rams defeated Oak Lawn 3-0 for the second straight day on May 15 to clinch the conference title.…

Richards alum Sebastian Castro is ranked by NFL Draft Live among the top 10 college cornerbacks heading into the 2024 NCAA football season. Photo courtesy of University of Iowa Athletics

Sports Bits | Rice boats at Carlyle Lake, Hawkeye DB and Do It Stevie’s Way

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Noteworthy sports briefs from May 12-19 • Brother Rice’s No. 1 boat of Joe Hall and Joe Judeh took 31st in the state bass fishing tournament, which wrapped up on May 18 at Carlyle Lake. The Crusaders had a two-day haul of 7 pounds, 12 ounces.  The Crusaders’ No.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Nothing NU at SeatGeek

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent There was speculation that because of the renovations being done at Ryan Field, Northwestern would schedule a few football games at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview this fall. The Wildcats announced their schedule and no home games are listed at SeatGeek, but the situation is still fluid. They are opting…

SXU softball players celebrate a victory over Bellevue. SXU photo

College Softball | Close losses at nationals end Saint Xavier’s season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Saint Xavier softball team played three nailbiters in the opening round of the NAIA Tournament. But the end result was a 1-2 record to eliminate the Cougars from advancing. SXU (28-14) opened the tournament by nipping Bellevue (Nebraska), 5-4, in Sioux City, Iowa on May 13. Alexus Reese…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher was with the team but did not play at Gotham on May 19.  IMAGN photo

Red Stars’ Naeher misses loss to Gotham

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The world’s best kept secret is still a mystery. The Chicago Red Stars are not releasing information to the public about the severity of a thigh injury or the status of world-class goalie Alyssa Naeher. What is known is that she did not play in a 2-1 loss to…

CRRNH_PattiTyznik_102622

Summer calendar filling up quickly

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Patti Tyznik Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • ptyznik@gmail.com . Summer is rapidly approaching, and the neighborhood is geared up for lots of great summer fun and activities. The Midway Chamber of Commerce’s farmer’s market will be opening on Wednesdays at the end of May through September…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Shepard’s Kyla Motley cruises to two medals at girls state track finals

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior Kyla Motley medaled in two events in the Class 3A girls state track and field meet, the finals for which were held May 18 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Motley finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 4 inches. She finished…

Neighbors

Peggy Zabicki

Brother, what a day today is

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . May 24 is National Brothers Day. The word “brother” comes from the Latin root for “frater” and the Proto-Germanic word “brothar” which itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root “bhrater.”  I’m sure everyone already knows that, but…

Mary Stanek

May your Memorial Day be meaningful

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . I hope we all will have a meaningful Memorial Day. Let us remember that this day is set to honor military personnel who died in service of their country. Memorial Day also marks…

volleyball

Boys Volleyball | Sandburg seeks 26th regional title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Coming off the worst season in program history in 2023, Sandburg was not going to settle for anything less than better results this year. Past the midway point of this season, however, the Eagles had a record of 11-8. But they closed the regular season strong, winning 11 of…

Reavis players celebrate after the Rams clinched the South Suburban Red title with a 3-0 win over Oak Lawn. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Red-hot Reavis looks to make noise in postseason

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Reavis is determined to send their head coach Don Erickson into retirement on a high note and will head into the postseason red hot and as South Suburban Red champions. The Rams defeated Oak Lawn 3-0 for the second straight day on May 15 to clinch the conference title.…

Richards alum Sebastian Castro is ranked by NFL Draft Live among the top 10 college cornerbacks heading into the 2024 NCAA football season. Photo courtesy of University of Iowa Athletics

Sports Bits | Rice boats at Carlyle Lake, Hawkeye DB and Do It Stevie’s Way

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Noteworthy sports briefs from May 12-19 • Brother Rice’s No. 1 boat of Joe Hall and Joe Judeh took 31st in the state bass fishing tournament, which wrapped up on May 18 at Carlyle Lake. The Crusaders had a two-day haul of 7 pounds, 12 ounces.  The Crusaders’ No.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Nothing NU at SeatGeek

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent There was speculation that because of the renovations being done at Ryan Field, Northwestern would schedule a few football games at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview this fall. The Wildcats announced their schedule and no home games are listed at SeatGeek, but the situation is still fluid. They are opting…

SXU softball players celebrate a victory over Bellevue. SXU photo

College Softball | Close losses at nationals end Saint Xavier’s season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Saint Xavier softball team played three nailbiters in the opening round of the NAIA Tournament. But the end result was a 1-2 record to eliminate the Cougars from advancing. SXU (28-14) opened the tournament by nipping Bellevue (Nebraska), 5-4, in Sioux City, Iowa on May 13. Alexus Reese…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher was with the team but did not play at Gotham on May 19.  IMAGN photo

Red Stars’ Naeher misses loss to Gotham

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The world’s best kept secret is still a mystery. The Chicago Red Stars are not releasing information to the public about the severity of a thigh injury or the status of world-class goalie Alyssa Naeher. What is known is that she did not play in a 2-1 loss to…

CRRNH_PattiTyznik_102622

Summer calendar filling up quickly

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Patti Tyznik Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • ptyznik@gmail.com . Summer is rapidly approaching, and the neighborhood is geared up for lots of great summer fun and activities. The Midway Chamber of Commerce’s farmer’s market will be opening on Wednesdays at the end of May through September…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Shepard’s Kyla Motley cruises to two medals at girls state track finals

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior Kyla Motley medaled in two events in the Class 3A girls state track and field meet, the finals for which were held May 18 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Motley finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 4 inches. She finished…