Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Monday, April 13, 2020

Restarting the state’s economy could be slow, complex

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says reopening the economy will be complex.

The governor on Sunday reported a lower death toll than the six prior days and said some other stats show promise.

But, he warned of opening things back up too quickly for concerns over increasing the number of cases and fatalities. Some in the legislature are calling for a regional approach to reopening sectors of the economy.

Some counties delay property tax deadlines

County officials in Springfield are set to vote on measures to delay when Sangamon County property taxes are due, and waiving late fees.

The county board is also looking at similar measures for liquor and food permit holders during the COVID-19 shutdown.

To cover money for taxing bodies during the delay, county officials said they could dip into reserves or do inter-fund borrowing. Other counties across the state are looking at similar measures.

COVID-19 pandemic could hit real estate market in Illinois this spring

It’s unclear how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the housing market in Illinois, but the market will likely be affected with large sections of the state’s economy closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, homes sales were up 5 percent and the median prices increased 7 percent compared to the previous year.

Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, said it’s not yet known how the pandemic will affect the housing market.

Hospital occupancy rates falling in Illinois

The hospital occupancy rates in Illinois are going down, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Of the total intensive care unit beds, 68 percent are occupied as of Saturday.

As of Thursday, 71.4 percent of ICU beds were occupied. Of the total ventilators, 43.8 percent were occupied. As of Thursday, the rate was 47.3 percent.

Of 29,989 total hospital beds in Illinois, IDPH says there are currently 4,104 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

Illinois Department on Aging announces $7 million for food assistance to elderly

Older Illinoisans needing food assistance will have access to $7 million to stock shelves.

The Illinois Department on Aging announced the distribution of the funds to the state’s 46 Care Coordination Units throughout the state.

Seniors who previously got meals at congregate meal sites will now be included in the department’s meal delivery program.

Mental health resources available amid COVID-19 pandemic

There are multiple ways to find someone to talk with when dealing with the stress of a pandemic.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has resources at NAMI.org.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced another program called Call4Calm that provides free-of-charge emotional support.

To access that program, text “TALK” to 552020.

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