Friday morning: Four coronavirus deaths in Illinois; updates for seniors, schools

My district offices are closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac). Thank you.

Illinois death toll now stands at four

The Governor announced yesterday that four people have died in Illinois from coronavirus. He also announced the detection of another 134 confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the state. There have been cases reported now in 22 counties, with a total of 422 overall. As this illness spreads, it will be more important than ever to continue to follow the advice of medical professionals: stay home as much as possible, wash your hands frequently; and if you must go out, avoid crowds and maintain six feet of physical separation from other people.

Information from state government has been compiled and is being frequently updated at coronavirus.illinois.gov and at my website, repbennett.com.

As this emergency continues day after day, many people may be feeling stress and anxiety. The National Institute for Mental Health has issued a helpful guide to coping with these difficult times.

News for schools:

Updated guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education

Information about unemployment benefits:

What you need to know if you are unemployed due to coronavirus

Status of Department of Human Services offices:

Modifications and closures of IDHS offices to follow health and safety guidelines

Grocery shopping for seniors:

Special shopping hours in Illinois grocery stores (check back for frequent updates)

Penalties waived for late sales tax payments by small businesses:

Short-term relief from penalties for late sales tax payments due to COVID-19 outbreak

Update on utility bills:

ICC works to stop utility disconnections and late payment fees

From the White House:

15 days to stop the spread

Anyone with questions or concerns about coronavirus should call the Department of Public Health’s statewide toll-free information hotline at 1-800-889-3931. Questions about school closure information from the Illinois State Board of Education can be directed to covid19@isbe.net.