Tuesday Virtual Town Hall, New Testing Site, $19 Million for COVID-19 Recovery, and more


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Sandy Hart 2019

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June 22, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

I hope this email finds you safe and healthy and ready for Illinois to move into Phase 4! There are many questions regarding the pandemic and what the recent changes mean; I hope you'll consider joining me at the Virtual Town Hall tomorrow night (details below), where we'll hear from several experts on COVID-19 and next steps.

Lake County is very fortunate to be one of the first counties in the state with free testing for residents. I went today and there was NO WAIT! Results are expected back within the week, so if you haven't been tested, please consider it. There's a video below so you know what to expect. We are also fortunate to have so many generous residents and businesses who have donated money and materials to help fight this pandemic. You can read more about all the help that's available, as well as volunteer opportunities through 211 if you wish to be part of the relief and recovery efforts.

Our board and staff has been working diligently to get dollars allocated to help residents, governments, and businesses in need. We've put federal monies toward food pantries, emergency shelter, rental assistance, utility assistance, and in early July we will have an application ready for small businesses. Our local governments, with employees on the front line of this pandemic, will also receive assistance to help cover the costs incurred since March. As our small businesses begin in open, it is so important that we shop local as much as possible. As Lake County Liquor Commissioner I was happy to give temporary approval for outdoor liquor service to Class A and E bar and restaurant license-holders in Lake County's unincorporated areas. 

The third and final phase of air monitoring for ethylene oxide is complete, and now it is up to the ATSDR and the USEPA to deliver the promised report on the health implications of EtO in our air. You can read more below and use the link to see the actual results on the Health Department's web page.

As always, it is an honor to serve as the County Board Chair and the Board Member for District 13. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

Take Care,

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Lake County Government News 

virtual townhall

Lake County COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall  

Please join me as I host Lake County's second live COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall. We'll provide updates on the current COVID-19 situation, funding and relief efforts for residents and businesses and what to expect in the coming months, as well as answer questions from the community. 
Date: Tuesday, June 23       

Time:  7 p.m.  

Venue: This virtual meeting will be hosted through Zoom.

Register Now 


  • Paul Frank, Chair, Lake County Financial and Administrative Special Committee on COVID-19 Recovery, Lake County Board Member 
  • Dulce Ortiz, Executive Director, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center
  • Mark Pfister, Executive Director, Lake County Health Department 
  • Donny Schmit, President, Lake County Municipal League 
  • Dr. Scott Warren, Superintendent, Lincolnshire–Prairie View School 
    District 103  
  • Demetrius Willis, Co-Chair, African American Community Partnership
    Group, Lake County Health Department 

Ethylene Oxide Air Monitoring Program Concludes 

The Lake County Health Department, Village of Gurnee, and City of Waukegan have received the final set of results from the last phase of outdoor air monitoring for ethylene oxide (EtO) near Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee and Medline Industries in Waukegan. 

The third phase of outdoor air monitoring in Lake County began April 4, 2020. Samples were collected from 12 sites every third day during a 30-day period, which ended on May 2, 2020. The three phases of air monitoring were conducted over 120 days, with samples collected on 54 separate days between June of 2019 and May of 2020. A total of 606 samples were collected throughout the program, with an additional 54 samples collected by Medline and Vantage. 

Read my statement urging the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to use the data to conduct the health risk assessment  that was promised to Lake County.

The results are available on the Health Department’s website,  www.lakecountyil.gov/eto. 

Learn more 


New Location for Waukegan Testing Site; Drive Through or Walk In 

The COVID-19 drive-through testing site in Waukegan has opened in a new location at 102 W. Water Street, and is now open to walk-in customers as well as those in vehicles. Testing is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until the daily capacity of 750 tests is reached. 

State health officials are urging everyone who has attended recent gatherings  to be tested for COVID-19 five to seven days after the event even if they do not have symptoms, or sooner if symptoms develop       

Things to know before you go:   

  • Testing is free of charge, and available to anyone with or without symptoms. 
  • No appointment, insurance, or physician referral is needed.
  • Photo identification is required. 
  • Anyone in the vehicle who wants a test must be seated at a functioning window.  
  • Once you enter the line in your vehicle, you will not be permitted to exit your car.  
  • Walkers should enter off of Genesee Street and follow the line marked by orange cones. The Illinois National Guard will guide walkers.
testing video

Are you curious about what a drive-thru COVID-19 test is like? Watch this video for a step by step, first-person view. Read more 

Photo courtesy: City of Waukegan

Phase 4

Illinois On Track to Move to Phase 4  

Lake County, along with the entire state of Illinois, is on track to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan beginning Friday, June 26. This includes reopening select indoor recreation facilities such as bowling alleys and skating rinks with capacity restrictions, limiting meetings and social events to 50 people or less with social distancing and capacity restrictions, and permitting indoor dining and drinking for parties of up to 10 people with tables spaced 6-feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25% of capacity. 

Help us keep moving forward! Follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings, wash your hands, and limit gatherings. Watch the video 

data hub lake county

Case Count Update   

The Lake County Health Department continues to monitor COVID-19 cases in Lake County. As of June 22, 9,355 Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 365 deaths associated with COVID-19. View current information. 

long term care

Health Department Expands COVID-19 Testing in Long-Term Care Facilities  

Health Department staff have been working very hard to protect residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Lake County. On June 1, the Health Department started a new testing program to help these facilities identify active COVID-19 infections, prevent further spread of the virus, and collect baseline data to help in ongoing testing plans. Read more 

contact tracing scams

Beware of Contact Tracing Scams 

Lake County officials are warning residents of contact tracing scams where criminals pretend to be contact tracers to steal vital information like Social Security numbers and banking information over the phone, via email, and text message. The Lake County Health Department reminds all residents that a contact tracer will NEVER:  

  • Ask for your Social Security number; 
  • Ask for money, bank account or credit card numbers, or any other form of payment; 
  • Ask for your immigration status; or 
  • Threaten consequences of not participating or answering questions. 

If you receive a suspicious call, text message, or email about contact tracing or exposure to COVID-19, you may call the Health Department’s Communicable Disease program at (847) 377-8130. Staff can help verify if you have been contacted by the Health Department. Read more 

Sandy Hart

$19 Million Committed to COVID-19 Recovery Among Several Measures Approved by County Board    

At our June 9 meeting, the Lake County Board passed measures to aid COVID-19 recovery efforts, potentially consolidate Lake County government services, and promote diversity and inclusion in the Lake County Government's workforce. These include:   

  • A resolution authorizing $19 million of federal CARES Act funds for rental, utility, food and small business assistance as well as reimbursements of County-incurred COVID-19 expenses. More information on how to apply for relief funds will be available soon to residents. Read the resolution and the emergency appropriation-CARES Act Funding.
  • A resolution adding a binding question on the November 2020 ballot about consolidating the Lake County Recorder of Deeds Office into the Lake County Clerk's Office. Read the resolution 
  • A resolution adding a Lake County Government employee diversity and inclusion policy. Read the resolution
  • The Board also approved $600,000 in grants for Lake County social service organizations, funded by video gaming revenue. A list of organizations receiving the funding can be found using this link. 

Watch the discussion and read the agenda

More Than $863,000 Distributed Through COVID-19 Community Response Fund   

As of June 9, United Way of Lake County has awarded more than $863,000 to 38 Lake County non-profits that are on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 crisis in Lake County. The most recent grant cycle focused on helping organizations distribute food and provide shelter to populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Additional grants will be awarded to quickly respond to urgent and evolving needs as funds become available. Read more

For more information about the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund, visit LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/covid19

Senior Freeze and Other Property Tax Exemptions Will Be Automatically Renewed This Year Due to COVID-19 Pandemic  

Lake County residents who in 2019 applied for and received the Senior Citizen Freeze Homestead Exemption, the Homestead Exemption for Persons with Disabilities, and the Standard Homestead Exemption for Veterans With Disabilities will not be required to re-apply for those exemptions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as the following criteria are met: 

  • The owner of record of the property as of January 1, 2020 is the same as the owner of record of the property as of January 1, 2019;  
  • The exemption for the 2019 taxable year has not been determined to be an erroneous exemption; and  
  • The applicant for the 2019 taxable year has not asked for the exemption to be removed for the 2019 or 2020 taxable years.  

Lake County property owners who did not apply for and/or were not found eligible for the exemptions in 2019 but believe they are eligible to receive them for the 2020 tax year may still apply.    Learn more 

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Get Help 

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Lake County Recovery Programs Coming Soon 

Relief for Residents   

The Lake County Financial and Administrative Special Committee on COVID-19 Recovery met on June 19 to discuss the distribution of $121.5 million in federal relief funds. A total of $5 million has been allocated for rental and utility assistance with  $2 million provided for food needs throughout the county. Residents may soon apply for
through local social service organizations and townships. Additional information will be shared soon on how and where to apply.

Relief for Businesses   

The Committee also further discussed guidelines and the mechanics for two other programs: $10 million for small business assistance and $10 million for municipalities and fire protection districts.    

Lake County Government is working with Lake County Partners to streamline the management and disbursement of $10 million in program funds to local businesses. Application details are being finalized and will be available soon.   

The $10 million for municipality and fire protection districts will be appropriated for the reimbursement of eligible COVID-19 expenses.    


Utility Bill Payment Assistance  

The ComEd CARE Program continues to offer a range of financial assistance options during the COVID-19 national emergency. ComEd is suspending service disconnections for customers who cannot pay and waiving new late payment charges through at least July 1. Learn more 
Lake County residents who need utility bill assistance may also reach out to the

Community Action Partnership of Lake County at 847-249-4330.  

State Resources Available for Illinois Families 

The Pritzker Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, has launched a new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Families seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food and other household necessities may visit www.helpillinoisfamilies.com for program details and how to apply. Read more   

The Immigrant Family Support Project 

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is dedicating $2 million in pandemic-related emergency assistance funding to Illinois immigrants - regardless of immigration status - who are facing unemployment, loss of income, medical costs, and food and housing insecurity as a direct result of COVID-19 and are ineligible for any federal funding relief. Learn more at this link, or call the COVID-19 Immigrant Family Support Hotline 855-437-7669. 

Help for Local Businesses  

  • The Federal Paycheck Protection Program  is still available from the Small Business Administration , providing forgivable loans for businesses to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Apply by June 30. Learn more  

child care

Child Care Restoration Grants 

The State of Illinois will be offering Child Care Restoration Grants for licensed child care providers who have lost revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergencyLearn more

https://www.ilgateways.com/financial-opportunities/restoration-grants and complete an Intent to Apply survey before June 24!


Call 211 to Get Connected to the Help You Need  

If you need assistance finding food, shelter, rent or utility assistance, or other essential services, call 211 or TEXT your zip code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help 24/7. To receive general COVID-19 information via text message, text
“COVID19” to 211211.

211 can also connect you to volunteer opportunities! For more information,
visit www.211lakecounty.org

A Safe Place

Domestic Violence—Help is Available 

While staying home and social distancing are best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19, it may create unsafe situations for those in abusive relationships. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call A Safe Place at 1-800-600-SAFE to get help.

virtual healthcare session

Employment Resources    

Are you looking for a job during this challenging time of layoffs, furloughs, and hiring freezes?   
The Job Center of Lake County provides vital resources to help you, including a Resource Library, Virtual Information Sessions, and a Job

Opportunities page. 
Attend a virtual Healthcare Training Information Session on Wednesday, July 1 at 1 p.m. to learn about options to begin or advance your healthcare career.  Register now

 Get Hired Illinois is a single portal where individuals can access virtual job fairs, free online training, and current job listings. Learn more 

Count on Me Lake County 2020 Census

Census 2020 Follow-Up Calls Are Underway   

Census workers occasionally follow up with households over the phone to ask questions about their responses to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau’s goal is to ensure a complete and accurate count and that no person is left out of the census or counted in more than one place.  

By law, all responses to the 2020 Census are kept confidential. If you receive a call, the caller will only review the responses that you previously provided. They will not ask about your financial information or Social Security number. If you receive a call asking about this information, do not provide it and report the call to the Census Bureau. Learn more  

If you have not already done so, there is still time to respond to the 2020 Census.  Your participation is vital to ensuring that Lake County gets adequate funding to support healthcare, schools, public transportation, roads and more.  Fill out your form now at mycensus2020.gov, or call 844-330-2020.  While the census self-response date has been extended to Oct. 31, don’t delay and respond today!    

Marriages and Civil Unions to Resume

Marriages and Civil Unions to Resume  

Beginning Monday, June 22, the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit will start officiating weddings and civil unions, virtually for active-duty members of the military and couples where at least one participant is a Lake County resident. Read more 

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Watch All County Board Meetings


All Lake County board and committee meetings are continuing to be conducted remotely. Meetings are live-streamed at lakecounty.tv, and on cable television (Comcast channels 18 or 30, depending on where you live, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99). To see a current schedule of board and committee meetings, and to find links of recordings of past meetings, click here.   

Public comments will be accepted by email and phone call only. Learn more 

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West Niles Virus

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County 

A mosquito “pool”  or batch of mosquitoes sampled on June 4 in Hawthorn Woods has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the Lake County Health Department reported. This mosquito pool is the first confirmed indicator of West Nile virus presence in Lake County in 2020. 

Help ‘Fight the Bite’ from mosquitoes and protect yourself and your family by practicing the “4 Ds of Defense.”  Learn more 

Mental Health First Aid Classes 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person Mental Health First Aid classes have been suspended in Lake County and across the nation. The National Council has announced plans to offer Mental Health First Aid classes virtually. The new virtual classes will include a two-hour self-paced course followed by four hours of instructor-led training. The new online course is based on new curricula, including expanded content on trauma, addiction, and self-care. The Health Department will provide additional updates about class availability as they become available on its website, mentalhealth.today 

pet vaccination clinics

Pet Vaccination Clinics  

All dogs and cats in Lake County are required to be registered and vaccinated against rabies. Due to the pandemic, all low-cost pet vaccination clinics have been cancelled until further notice. Residents are encouraged to contact their normal veterinarian for routine pet health care and to stay up-to-date on your pets’ vaccinations. On a limited basis and by appointment only, Lake County residents can receive low-cost rabies and distemper vaccinations at Lake County Animal Care and Control. For more information, visit Lake County/Pet clinics or call 847-377-4700 to schedule an appointment. 

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pavement sealants

Chemicals in Pavement Sealants Can Cause Environmental Harm 

Summer is here! For some residents and businesses, the nice weather is a chance to perform maintenance on driveways, parking lots and playgrounds by using sealants to protect and enhance the appearance of the underlying asphalt. While this is a common practice, coal-tar sealants contain Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of chemicals that harm humans and aquatic life. Stormwater runoff carries these chemicals into waterways, and the particles caused by normal wear and tear can be tracked into homes. PAHs in asphalt-based sealants are 1,000 times lower than in coal-tar sealants. This summer, consider choosing contractors that only use asphalt-based sealants on driveways, parking lots and playgrounds. Learn more. 

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Forest Preserves Logo 2020 Redesign

Lake County Forest Preserves 

Dog parks

Dog Parks Open 

The five off-leash dog exercise areas have reopened with additional safety and social distancing guidelines in place. Lakewood Dog Park in Wauconda,
Waukegan Savanna Dog Park in Waukegan, Duck Farm Dog Park in Lake Villa, Prairie Wolf Dog Park in Lake Forest, and Independence Grove Dog Park in Libertyville opened gradually earlier this month. “Modified use practices are in place for the health and safety of the Forest Preserve staff, dog owners and their pets,” said Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully. Visit LCFPD.org/dogs to learn more about the safety guidelines.   



In the middle of this pandemic, the Lake County Forest Preserves offer hundreds of miles of trails to support our physical health, and beautiful views and vast open spaces to restore our mental health. As one user posted on Facebook: “Thank you for staying open. It has been our moment of Zen to hike the trails.” Since mid-March, more people are loving the forest preserves than ever. Visitation in May was 18% greater than the busiest summer weekend in any of the previous four years. Daily average visitation in April was 60% greater than the busiest summer weekend in any of the previous four years. Visit LCFPD.org/preserves/ to navigate your next adventure. 


How to Grow a Modern Victory Garden 

Do you have a garden at home? Whether you plant in the ground or in pots, growing food at home can be done in ways that are healthy for you and the planet. Learn how to start your own home garden by checking out this recorded webinar presented by Dunn Museum Educator Nicole Stocker in partnership with the Vernon Area Public Library. Home vegetable gardens are on the rise as families enjoy the idea of growing their own fresh food. Watch video » 

route 45 trail

Route 45 Trail Connection Opens 

The Lake County Forest Preserves announced the opening of a new community trail connection resulting from a successful partnership with the Village of Gurnee to provide safe and direct access to neighboring forest preserves and trails. This 0.4-mile crushed gravel trail links the Village's existing bike path and several large residential areas to Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve and to the Millennium Trail and Greenway.  Learn more » 

medical students

$75K In Grants Funds 24 Healthcare Scholarships at CLC 

Thanks to a recurring $75,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC), more College of Lake County (CLC) students can complete their healthcare degree for free. Scholarships Promoting Lake County Affordable and Sustainable Healthcare (SPLASH) funds the journey of 24 students in the Biological and Health Sciences Division, making it possible for scholarship recipients to work less and study more while in school. Read more 

transportation news

Road Construction Season is in Full Swing!

Several Lake County Division of Transportation road projects are well underway. See the county roads that will be under construction this year and view the latest project updates by using our interactive construction map.


2020 Summer Hydrant Flushing  

Lake County Public Works will conduct its semi-annual water hydrant flushing program beginning July 6 through July 31, weather permitting, for the following areas:  

  • Brooks Farm  
  • Countryside Lake 
  • Fox Lake Hills  
  • Grandwood Park  
  • Highland Lake  
  • Knollwood  
  • Vernon Hills  
  • Wildwood  

The process will be performed daily, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., per the hydrant flushing schedule and will continue until all water mains throughout our water systems have been flushed. After flushing, we recommend running cold water for several minutes to clear your pipes.  

Signs will be posted in each area before the start of hydrant flushing. Please contact the Public Works office at 847-377-7500 if you have any questions or concerns.  Read more