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Pandemic Leadership and Recovery

Keeping People Safe From the Virus

  • Turned Illinois into a vaccination leader of the Midwest
  • Re-implemented masking requirements ahead of a late 2021 surge, leading Illinois to have the fewest COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths per capita in the Midwest by the end of 2021
  • More than 19 million vaccinations administered, two million of them at state-run mass vaccination sites and 5,500 mobile clinics
  • Vaccinated nearly 90 percent of Illinois seniors, and nearly three in four have received a booster
  • Among the 10 most populous states, Illinois has led in youth vaccinations from the moment the FDA authorized them
  • Implemented COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements in healthcare, childcare, and education to slow the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable parents, teachers, staff and students
  • Focused on equity, ensuring residents of diverse communities have access to vaccine and testing
  • Among the first states in the nation to slow the spread of COVID-19 by introducing life-saving mitigation efforts, providing free COVID-19 treatment to any Illinois resident and free COVID-19 testing, with 34 million PCR tests now administered, leading the Midwest
  • Illinois tested resident’s 40 percent more per capita than the average Midwestern state
  • Deployed National Guard to work with local public health departments adding hundreds of vaccination sites in every corner of Illinois
  • Despite worldwide shortages, sourced millions of masks, gloves, ventilators and protective equipment from around the globe to protect Illinois families, healthcare workers and first responders, with Illinois Emergency Management personnel distributing an average of 1.2 million outbound items each week
  • Provided comprehensive daily public updates on vital information, including the latest science and developments regarding COVID-19
  • Implemented vaccine requirement at congregate facilities to protect people in the state’s care and custody
  • Expanded healthcare staffing by authorizing nearly 20,000 additional out-of-state and expired healthcare licensee workers to rejoin our healthcare ranks and fight back against the pandemic
  • To limit the spread of the virus, deployed resources allowing local public health departments to build contact tracing programs, which in 2021 alone conducted more than one million consultations with people who tested positive and their close contacts in order to limit the spread of the virus

Supporting Children and Families with Safe Education and Childcare

  • Set the national standard to safely keep students in schools; CDC adopted the Illinois' "test-to-stay" model
  • Provided free COVID-19 testing access to all K-12 public schools and free masks for schools in need, to support uninterrupted access to safe in-person learning wherever possible
  • To overcome children’s learning loss, gave extensive expert guidance and best practices to K-12 schools, with specific recommendations for using additional $7 billion in federal aid
  • Launched a nationally recognized childcare provider pandemic support program, delivering relief grants to provide a safe environment for children for thousands of providers and allowing them to pay rent and workers during the depths of the pandemic recession
  • Awarded retention bonuses of up to $1,000 to Illinois childcare workers
  • Supported out-of-work parents by providing three months of low- or no-cost childcare to those looking for work
  • Reduced childcare co-pay for pandemic essential workers to $1 per month in the early months of pandemic
  • Provided pandemic relief for individuals with student loans

Sustaining Small Businesses and Protecting Jobs

  • Provided nearly $1 billion directly to businesses, especially those left out of the federal PPP program
    • Sustained more than 9,000 small businesses in 2020 alone with $290 million in funding Boosted economic recovery of small businesses in 2021 with an additional $570 million
  • Opened seven new Small Business Development Centers to assist businesses applying for federal pandemic relief and to help businesses plan to meet new pandemic consumer demands
  • Dedicated funding specifically to downstate businesses, workforce recovery, and childcare for working parents
  • Initiated the COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program, helping low-income and disadvantaged youth develop workplace skills and gain employment experience
  • Provided business grants targeted to downstate agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19

Preventing Illinoisans From Losing Their Homes

  • Protected families suffering pandemic financial hardship from losing their homes with the nation’s best and fastest housing assistance program, providing nearly $2 billion to support renters and home owners
  • Prohibited evictions and vehicle repossessions for those suffering pandemic-related financial hardship
  • Prevented utility shutoffs for 115,000 homes and facilitated utility bill reductions of over $115 million
  • Expanded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance and Community Services Block Grants by $275 million to reach more than 289,000 families, with an additional $369 million launched in the fall of 2021 for utilities, other household bills like childcare and food, and a newly launched $40 million water bill assistance program
  • Created 3,500 new affordable housing developments with pandemic relief support

Serving Vulnerable Communities

  • Increased capacity and streamlined access to emergency shelter for individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence during the pandemic
  • Expanded transportation, grocery shopping and meal delivery to tens of thousands more seniors during the pandemic
  • Sent one-time $500 payments to low-income families enrolled in TANF
  • Provided resources and assistance to local organizations serving our most vulnerable citizens
  • Provided unprecedented support for vulnerable immigrant and refugee families, including cash assistance, housing and utility assistance, employment and job training services, and healthcare education
  • Paid out over $36 billion in unemployment insurance benefits while stopping more than 2 million fraudulent claims

Preventing Hunger

  • Provided over 1.4 million Illinois children with over $1.8 billion in food relief through Pandemic EBT program
  • Helped school districts provide free lunch to eligible students during remote learning
  • Redirected $100 million from managed care companies to immediate community-based needs, like food banks and telehealth equipment to support residents during the pandemic
  • Expanded meal delivery programs for seniors, delivering nearly 1 million meals a month (including culturally appropriate ethnic meals) and worked with grocers to set aside special shopping hours exclusive to vulnerable older residents
  • Increased SNAP food assistance to low-income Illinoisans hit hardest financially by the pandemic