Governor J.B. Pritzker focused Sunday on changes to make sure those who need child care can get it.
Pritzker announced Illinois is expanding support for emergency child care centers during the pandemic. He said essential workers can qualify for financial assistance that will pay all or part of the cost of child care needs.
He added children should be kept at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, but that’s not always possible.
“We have essential workers and health care providers who can’t stay home with their kids because they are heroically going out to do their jobs which are vital for public safety and to make sure other families can get the food, gas and pharmacy goods that they may need," he said.
The state is also paying a higher reimbursement rate to emergency child care centers and home day care operations to ensure they remain open. Those wishing to re-open can apply for a permit.
More information is available through a state website. A webinar to explain the support for providers and small businesses through the federal CARES Act is scheduled for Monday morning with details on the same site.
Pritzker pointed out having care available, especially at night and on weekends, is even more important now.
Pritzker Dons Mask At Briefing
The governor appeared to be following the recommendation of wearing a mask when in public. He entered the briefing room at the James R. Thompson Center Sunday weaing a mask that covered his nose and mouth. Prtizker removed it before he began speaking.
'I've been wearing a mask when I go out," the governor said. "I did it this morning when I was out and I did it when I came here. People should wear a mask. People should make a mask if they don't have one already."
Pritzker also urged regular hand washing, staying home if possible and keeping at least a 6 foot distance from other people as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending face coverings in public settings when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Racial Disparity Discussed
Pritzker said at his daily briefing Sunday that he is deeply disturbed by disparity along racial lines when it comes to people affected by COVID-19.
Recent Illinois figures showed that African Americans make up 30 percent of confirmed cases while overall they account for only 14 percent of the population, according to the US Census Bureau.
“We already started out with an unequal system of healt care for people. And then it gets massively exacerbated when you bring on something like COVID 19, which is clearly requires an enormous amount of health care provision, he said,
Pritzker pointed out that two Chicago area hospitals planned for reopening in the COVID_19 pandemic are in communities of color: MetroSouth Hospital in Blue Island and Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.