March 13, 2020
Yesterday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, in collaboration with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, released new guidance developed for residents to prevent further spread of COVID-19. These new precautionary measures were developed with large events and gatherings in mind, and will promote social distancing practices - a key recommendation to prevent community spread of the disease with the least disruption possible to people's daily lives.
The guidance provides recommendations for community events, schools, government, businesses and workplaces, elections and vulnerable populations. The state and city are mandating all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be cancelled for the next 30 days. Other recommendations include:
Cancelling or postponing community events of 250 people or more until May 1. This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their own communities;
Taking advantage of teleworking capabilities for businesses immediately;
Voting by mail or participating in early voting; and
Promoting hand washing, hand sanitizing and sneezing and coughing etiquette, including having staff stay home when sick.
Today the Archdiocese of Chicago announced it has suspended all public celebrations of mass and closed all local Catholic schools, based on the guidelines issued by the Governor.
As of yesterday, seven more people in Illinois have tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 32 cases in the state. The latest people are: a 40s female and youth male from Chicago; a 70s male from Kane County; two 70s females and 50s male in Cook County; and a 60s man in McHenry County.
According to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), approximately 29% of the cases in Illinois are travel associated, about 44% are a contact with a COVID-19 case, and the remaining cases do not have a clear connection and could be the result of spread in the community. While the vast majority of cases are recovering, approximately 94% are in isolation either at home or in the hospital. At this time, there have been no deaths associated with COVID-19 in Illinois.
The Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services today issued a notice stating that the cost of COVID-19 laboratory testing is a covered service of the Illinois Medicaid program. A new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code, U0002, became effective Feb. 4, for providers to bill for non-CDC laboratory COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) testing. This code will be added to the next update of the Department’s Practitioner Fee Schedule but a rate has not yet been assigned. Until that occurs, claims billed will be placed on hold. There are no participant copayments for laboratory services. Questions may be directed to the Bureau of Professional and Ancillary Services at 877-782-5565.
Additional COVID-19 resources are available on IHA’s website.