Cook County Board President COVID-19 Update and Community Resources

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Cook County Government - Toni Preckwinkle - Cook County Board President

Office of the President | Thursday, April 23 2020

COVID-19 Update

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A Letter from the President

President Toni Preckwinkle Headshot

Over the past few weeks, the Offices Under the President have announced several new measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities and help residents and businesses find a path to recovery. While I am encouraged by recent reports that we are trending downward in new cases reported each day, we will feel the economic and societal impacts of this public health crisis for many months and even years to come. Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all levels of government, but I am confident we will get through this — together.


Toni Preckwinkle Signature

Toni Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President

COVID-19 Resources and Initiatives

COVID-19 Dashboard and Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) Map

President Preckwinkle unveiled the Cook County Medical Examiner COVID-19 Dashboard and interactive Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) Map. The COVID-19 Dashboard provides direct, transparent access to critical information about coronavirus deaths in the County for public health agencies, medical professionals, first responders, journalists, policymakers and residents. Using the Social Vulnerability Index model developed by the Centers for Disease Control, the SVI Map is an interactive way to share information with first responders, public health officials and the public about which communities in Cook County will likely need the most support during a catastrophic event such as a pandemic.

Cook County Social Vulnerability Index Dashboard


Dr. Kiran Joshi and Dr. Rachel Rubin to co-lead Cook County Department of Public Health’s pandemic response

Drs. Rachel Rubin and Kiran Joshi, Cook County Health Senior Medical Officers were formally introduced as the new will co-leaders for the Cook County Department of Public Health during the County’s  ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. Both doctors joined the Cook County Department of Public Health as Senior Medical Officers and Stroger Hospital as attending physicians in 2014.


Alternative Housing Plan to support suburban Cook County

President Preckwinkle, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) announced a multi-phased, COVID-19 alternative housing plan designed to support suburban Cook County residents, health care professionals and first responders. Under this plan, suburban Cook County residents who test positive for COVID-19 and are in need of temporary housing as they continue to improve outside a hospital’s care will have an opportunity to stay in temporary housing identified by EMRS. Qualifying participants of the first phase of the program will include those experiencing homelessness, those who are housing insecure and those who do not have a separate room and bathroom to safely isolate at home.


Cook County has distributed thousands of PPE, launched donation program

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) has distributed more than 700,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) to suburban first responders – including distributing 240,000 PPE - this week - to first responders located in the south suburban area of the County. To date, Cook County has distributed PPE to more than 120 municipalities. This includes N95 protective masks, surgical masks and gloves, protective gowns and coveralls, eye protection, face shields, infection control kits and head and shoe covers. 

Additionally, EMRS has launched a donation program to accept unused personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders and medical staff. Cook County is accepting eye protection such as face shields and goggles, nitrile (non-latex) gloves, surgical face masks, non-contact (infrared) thermometers, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer and infection control kits. The County will also accept Tyvek or Tychem coveralls, shoes and boot coverings and gowns including surgical, isolation and personal protection.

All PPE should be in the manufacturer's original packaging and unopened. Cook County is unable to accept products not in their original packaging or homemade items. Anyone who would like to donate PPE should email:


Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office opened surge center

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office opened a surge center to expand capacity and ease overcrowding at hospital morgues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The County’s Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) managed planning and is coordinating logistics for the center operations. The 66,000-square foot refrigerated warehouse will have the capacity to hold more than 2,000 decedents. The facility is located five miles from the Medical Examiner’s Office.


Cook County establishes the Community Recovery Initiative to support small businesses and gig workers

Community Recover Initiative

President Preckwinkle signed Executive Order 2020-9 to create the Community Recovery Initiative, which creates an emergency relief fund for businesses and 1099 workers in suburban Cook County. Cook County will seed an initial $10 million for the fund, which will grant zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 to independent contractors and small businesses to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The creation of this fund will build on the County's new technical assistance network with the American Business Immigration Coalition, the Illinois Restaurant Association, and the National Partnership for New Americans to help suburban small businesses and contract workers quickly and successfully access $377 billion in new small business loans created as part of the CARES Act recently passed by Congress. Together, with the technical assistance and outreach, this fund comprises part of the comprehensive Cook County Community Recovery Initiative.


Cook County Forest Preserves remain open during COVID-19

The Forest Preserves of Cook County remain open, but sites and facilities, including public restrooms, closed. Residents are encouraged to enjoy the trails and get some exercise in the fresh air, while maintaining social distance and following public health guidelines.


Community Resources

  • 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
  • Job seekers: The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has a list of employers looking to hire. Visit
  • 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
  • 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:
  • School districts throughout Cook County suburbs are providing meals to families in need. Find the details here:

COVID-19 Resources

AlertCook messaging service

Cook County's Response and Resources

Cook County Department of Public Health

Illinois COVID-19 Resources

Chicago COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control

Resources for the Business Community