Letter from President Toni Preckwinkle
Friday, June 19, 2020
Special to suffredin.org
A Letter from the President
Over the past few weeks, Cook County has focused on our COVID-19 recovery. While the pandemic is still far from over, we have made significant progress and moved onto Phase 3 in the State of Illinois and City of Chicago’s recovery plans. As businesses begin to reopen their doors and residents who may have lost a job as a result of the pandemic look for work, we are committed to doing everything possible to support them.
We recently announced our investment in a contact tracing program, launched our Community Recovery Loan Fund and continue to hold virtual Racial Equity Town Halls to receive feedback and hear concerns directly from residents.
Thank you to everyone who has done their part by staying home to keep our communities healthy. The weeks ahead will continue to be challenging. Cook County is here to help.
Today marks Juneteenth Celebration Day or Freedom Day, commemorating the June 19, 1865 abolition of slavery in Texas. I will be marching to Grant Park with Pastor Chris Harris and Chicago faith leaders to honor the occasion, and I encourage you to join me.
Cook County Board President
Cook County Announces $41 million COVID-19 Contact Tracing Grant Award
President Preckwinkle and the Cook County Department of Public Health(CCDPH) announced that CCDPH will be receiving nearly $41 million in grant funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health to rapidly scale-up its COVID-19 contact tracing program in suburban Cook County over the next three to six months. The funding will allow CCDPH to focus on communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Public health departments routinely reach out to the contacts of positive cases when investigating communicable disease outbreaks to let them know they have been exposed to a disease and to provide instructions and monitoring to keep it from spreading to others. This grant will allow CCDPH to scale its contact tracing program and staffing commensurate with the numbers of cases in suburban Cook County.
Cook County Receives 9 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards
Cook County was recognized with nine Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
The winning programs and categories are as follows:
Restore Illinois Plan: Phase Three and the Forest Preserves
The Forest Preserves of Cook County announced updated operations and visitor guidelines based on Illinois’ move into Phase Three of the Restore Illinois plan:
- Four of the five campgrounds reopened in a limited capacity from Thursday through Sunday for tents and cabins and throughout the week for R.V.s. There are no in-person or online reservations at this time. For more information and reservations, call 855-YES-CAMP (855-937-2267).
- All ten golf courses are open with the extended Phase Three state rules for play in effect.
- Off-leash dog areas are open.
- Rolling Knolls disc golf course is open.
- Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course opened with modified operations.
- Busse Lake Boating Center is open on Mondays and Thursdays with limited rental capacity, and Maple Lake Boating Center is open for concessions only, Monday through Thursday.
- Volunteer activities for groups up to ten participants are reinstated.
Please note that some forest preserves sites remain closed due to the impact of COVID-19. Visit the COVID-19 Page for a comprehensive list of Forest Preserves closures, cancellations and visitor guidelines.
Solarize Chicagoland Launches Program for Second Year
With people spending more time at home and using more electricity, now is the perfect time to explore the benefits of solar energy to save money on utility bills over the long-term.
For the second year, Cook County is co-sponsoring Solarize Chicagoland, a solar group buy program run by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and Citizens Utility Board. This program makes solar more affordable and easier to attain for Chicagoland residents through community education and volume purchasing, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing solar on your home.
To learn more about the program and to register for an upcoming Solar Power Hour webinar, please visit https://www.growsolar.org/chicagoland/.
Virtual Equity Town Halls
President Preckwinkle has hosted a series of town halls to hear feedback directly from residents in different regions of the County. Stay tuned on our social media for the next town hall.
Cook County has reached a 60% return rate for the 2020 Census.
Complete your Census form today, online or by phone or mail. We will continue to post Census updates on our social media.
- Utilities like water, gas and electricity cannot be disconnected until the state of emergency is lifted. If your utility is shut off, contact the office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul at illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
- Job seekers: The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has a list of employers looking to hire. Visit https://chicookworks.org/home/worknow/
- Worked in a restaurant, bar, cafe or nightclub for three months or longer? Samuel Adams and Greg Hill Foundation partnered to provide $1,000 grants to restaurant workers who have been laid off during this time. To apply for a grant or learn more, visit http://restaurantstrong.org
- Adults with underlying conditions like chronic lung disease, heart conditions, diabetes, severe obesity, and others, are at high-risk for #COVID19. Take extra precautions, stay home and frequently wash your hands. More information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html
- School districts throughout Cook County suburbs are providing meals to families in need. Find the details here: http://bit.ly/CookCountyMeals
Cook County's Response and Resources
Cook County Community Recovery Initiative
City Bureau COVID Resource Finder
Cook County Department of Public Health
Illinois COVID-19 Resources
Chicago COVID-19 ResourcesCenters for Disease Control