IL Gov. Pritzker announces statewide telehealth programs, mental health support hotline

IL announces over 1,200 new cases, 81 new COVID-19 related deaths

IL Gov. Pritzker announces statewide telehealth programs, mental health support hotline
IL Gov. Pritzker giving daily update. (Source: WFIE)

ILLINOIS (WFIE) - Illinois has launched a new Remote Patient Monitoring Program using telehealth services and pandemic health worker programs.

The program will reduce barriers to health and mental health services to support residents across Illinois with a focus on underserved communities and those at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic health workers will digitally connect with members in the community who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to stay home or quarantine to protect themselves and others.

The pandemic health workers will virtually visit patients daily, deliver wellness kits that include essential tools to monitor their health, and follow-up over a 14-day period to make sure no further help is needed.

Wellness kits will include items such as thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs and alcohol wipes.

Health officials say this statewide program will help safeguard hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and will limit the spread of the virus.

A person is eligible for the program if he or she is showing COVID-19 symptoms or is at high risk for contracting the virus but does not require emergency or inpatient care, and can also be digitally monitored at home. A person must call the COVID-19 hotlines for a final determination of eligibility for the Pandemic Health Worker Program.

The OSF PHW teams are serving East Central and North Central Illinois communities include Peoria/Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Evergreen Park, Danville, Galesburg, Kewanee, Monmouth, Ottawa, Mendota, Streator, Pontiac and Rockford. The OSF Hotline number is 833-673-5669 and is available now. More information can be found at www.osfhealthcare.org.

The SIU SOM PHW program is serving West Central and Southern Illinois include Springfield, Quincy, Decatur, Carbondale, and Metro East communities. The SIU Hotline number is 217-545-5100 and will be available starting Monday. More information can be found at www.siumed.edu/phw.

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge emotional support test line “Call4Calm” for residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.

Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, “HABLAR” to the same number: 5-5-2-0-2-0. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous.

Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support.

Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with keywords such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services.

During Gov. Pritzker’s Saturday update, he and his team announced 1,293 new confirmed cases and an additional 81 COVID-19 related deaths.

The state is now reporting a total of 19,180 confirmed cases and a total of 677 COVID-19 related deaths.

During his Friday update, Pritzker and his team stated that the mortality rates for African-Americans are five times higher than other racial populations, and that percentage increases dramatically among the elderly population.

“We will not stand ideally by while one segment of the population bears an unfortunate heightened burden of this disease," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

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