Vaccine Update, Infrastructure Investment, Senior Helpline, and more

 

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Sandy Hart 2019
 

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March 2, 2021

Dear Neighbor, 

I hope you are well!  The Lake County Health Department (LCHD), businesses, schools, non-profits, retail pharmacies and health care providers continue to work together to help get people vaccinated. The LCHD is limited by the amount of vaccine received, and there is currently a worldwide shortage. With the recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, I have been told that there will soon be an increase in supply and more volunteers will be needed. It is critically important that hospitals increase their appointment availability to more people beyond their patient base. Some key points:

  • To get everyone vaccinated, we will need an "all hands on deck" approach. The vast majority of vaccinations must be carried out by health care providers, especially hospitals and doctor's offices. Most vaccines will be delivered to residents via traditional health care providers.
  • The LCHD acts as a safety net and is expected to vaccinate 10-20% of the population. It does operate an additional vaccination site (the fairgrounds) to support the vaccination efforts of our partners.
  • The LCHD is vaccinating Phase 1a and 1b with a focus on health care workers, first responders, and people aged 65 and over. 
  • The LCHD distributes vaccines to many partners across Lake County, which includes businesses, health care providers, schools, government partners, and non-profit agencies. Thank you to Abbvie and North Chicago Community Partners for funding and operating the site at Greenbelt Forest Preserve serving seniors in Waukegan and North Chicago! More information is below.

As I've written before, I believe it is so important that we provide a wellness triage center, or crisis center, for people who live with serious mental illness. A recent article highlights how much it is needed, and we are in the process of finding the right facility. I'm grateful for the many advocates who are working hard to provide education and reduce the stigma that still exists.

Tomorrow (PWPT meeting) and Thursday (Finance meeting) of this week, two committees will meet to discuss and vote upon a potential gas tax in Lake County. Last week during a joint committee hearing, members heard from the Director of Lake County Dept. of Transportation Shane Schneider on the backlog of infrastructure improvements in Lake County, including railroad grade separations, road widening, turn lanes, and other necessary improvements. I've included a link to last week's meeting here-click on #8 or go to Minute 5:55 to see the presentation.

Investing in infrastructure is directly related to economic development, road safety and increased quality of life for residents. The Lake County Board can make these investments either by taxing gasoline or by raising property taxes. Lake County is the only "collar" county (meaning those counties that surround Chicago/Cook-Will, Kane, DuPage, McHenry, and DuPage) that did not institute a 4¢ gas tax in the 1989-1991 time frame, relying instead on raising property taxes. Holding the line on property taxes was a priority for me when I became Chair of the board in 2019, and for the first time in at least two decades, this board did not raise property taxes for the last two years. Implementing a gas tax instead of relying on property taxes to fund infrastructure means that people from outside of Lake County who buy gas here will contribute to the maintenance of those roads, and Lake County is the third highest tourist destination in the state of Illinois. 

In the two years I have served as Chair, the Board has saved money by moving offices into county-owned spaces; eliminating outdating taxing districts, and participating in joint purchasing contracts. We are also in the midst of an asset utilization study to determine how we can cut costs more, because we MUST. In response to the pandemic, we've implemented a hiring freeze, a wage freeze for elected officials and staff, and cut our 2020 budget. Certainly I wish there was a way to pay for our essential infrastructure needs without a gas tax, but there is not, other than raising property taxes, which is a non-starter for me.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you on the Lake County Board and the Forest Preserve Board. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions or concerns.

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Lake County COVID-19 Update  

Allvax help for seniors

Senior Citizens: Get Help and Vaccine Information Over the Phone  

Beginning this week, Health Department volunteers are available to help seniors who call (847) 377-8130, (Option 1) register for vaccines during special hours: 

  • Tuesdays: Noon to 3 p.m. 
  • Thursdays:  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Fridays: Noon to 3 p.m. 

Seniors will be routed to a volunteer who can help people register and answer questions about the process. If you leave a voicemail when you call, a volunteer will call you back. If you want to volunteer, please email lakecountycallvolunteers@gmail.com. 

An additional program called "Vaccination Buddies" is underway through Dickinson Hall (Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Senior Center) to help with online and/or telephone appointment registration for seniors. 

The Lake County Health Department provides support for COVID-19 vaccine registration through its AllVax Support Center, Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by phone at (847) 377-8130, and by email at AllVax@lakecountyil.gov.


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Volunteers Needed to Help With Vaccination Clinics 

It will take all of us pitching in to get through this pandemic and get everyone vaccinated. If you can help, please consider volunteering at a vaccination clinic. While those with medical training are needed to serve as vaccinators and wellness-check observers, there are many roles available for volunteers that don’t require medical knowledge. This includes on-site traffic control, greeters, and check-in screeners, as well as remote customer support.  Watch the video and visit our website to learn more and apply. 


Blood Donors Needed   

There is currently a nationwide shortage of supply and all blood types are needed. There are two organizations in Lake County that participate in blood collection:    

  • VitalantVitalant (formerly LifeSource) operates two donation locations in Lake County, in Gurnee and Lake Bluff. Please schedule your appointment in advance by calling 877-258-4825 or visiting vitalant.org.   
Give blood

covid-19 vaccine

Vaccine Update 

The Lake County Health Department continues to vaccinate individuals in Phase 1a and Phase 1b, including healthcare workers, seniors age 65 and over and frontline essential workers, at its mass vaccination site at the Lake County Fairgrounds. If you are registered in the Allvax system, you will receive an email (or a phone call for those who don’t have email) when a vaccine is available for you to schedule an appointment. Please be patient, as there are approximately 200,000 people registered in Allvax in Phase 1b, and vaccine supply continues to be limited. 

Because of this, the health department will NOT be expanding Phase 1b to include individuals under age 65 with high-risk medical conditions or disabilities. Pharmacies and other entities that receive vaccine supply of their own (separate from the Lake County Health Department’s supply) may choose to follow the expanded guidelines of the State of Illinois, which go into effect Feb. 25.  

For the most current information about how to register for a vaccine, when you can get a vaccine, vaccine locations and more, please visit the Lake County COVID-19 Vaccine page. 

 


Vaccinations for Waukegan and North Chicago Senior Citizens 

Senior citizens age 65 and over who reside in North Chicago and Waukegan may sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through North Chicago Community Partners. Vaccines will be administered at the Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 Green Bay Road, North Chicago. Appointments are required.   

To register, please send an email with your full name, phone number and birthdate to vaccine@northchicagocommunitypartners.org, or call 847-582-1362. 


data hub lake county

Current COVID-19 Data    

 

Case Count: As of March 1, there are 54,978 Lake County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, including 922 deaths. View the Lake County Coronavirus Datahub      

Positivity Rate: As of Feb. 27, the rolling 7-day average testing positivity rate in North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry Counties, was 3.4 percent. View Region 9 information. 

Vaccination Count: According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as of Feb. 23, there have been 127,812 vaccine doses administered in  Lake County. View IDPH Vaccine Administration Data 


mobile testing

COVID-19 Testing     

Drive-thru and walk-up testing is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Waukegan at 102 W. Water Street.     

Residents may now schedule an appointment for their COVID-19 test by visiting the Illinois Department of Public Health MyChart website at https://rebrand.ly/idph. Sign in or sign up to create an account, and then select ‘Visits’ and then ‘Schedule an Appointment.’   

Testing is free and open to all regardless of symptoms. Be aware that high demand for testing may result in long wait times. Testing locations may close early due to inclement weather or if daily testing supplies are exhausted. Find additional testing locations and information at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/testing. 

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Lake County Government News  

vote by mail

Vote by Mail in the April Election 

Elections matter, and that includes at the very local level! All Lake County registered voters are encouraged to vote in the April 6, 2021 Consolidated Election, to choose local leaders such as municipal mayors, school board members, park district and library commissioners and more. All voters may request a vote-by-mail ballot, which allows you to vote from the comfort of your own home.  To do so: 

Applications to vote by mail must be received no later than April 1. Ballots will be printed and mailed beginning March 12.  Learn more 


drainage district

Lake County Prioritizes the Elimination of Some Taxing Districts

Eliminating unnecessary and outdated taxing districts continues to be a priority for the Lake County Board.

In February, the Lake County Board voted to begin the process to eliminate the Lake Bluff Mosquito Abatement District, which is one of only two mosquito abatement districts in Lake County. The next step is an audit of the District, and we are working with the State's Attorney Office to return any remaining funds to the taxpayers. This will result in a savings to affected property taxpayers as the line item will no longer be a part of the tax bills. 

Lake County Government, the Village of Beach Park, and the City of Waukegan have worked together to dissolve the Beach Park Drainage District, effective immediately. This will also result in a savings to those affected taxpayers. 

Going forward, the Village of Beach Park and the City of Waukegan will continue to support the parcels within their municipal limits. Residents who encounter property drainage issues should contact their local municipality for assistance.  Read more 

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Get Help 

Lake County Forward

Get Help Paying Rent and Utilities 

If you're a Lake County resident and need help paying rent or utility bills because you've lost income due to COVID-19, you are encouraged to apply for the Lake County COVID Housing Relief Program (CHRP).   

Applying is easy—simply dial 211 from your phone or text your zip code to 898211, and you will be connected with someone who can help.   

Commonwealth Edison assistanceComEd offers several different programs for individuals and small businesses experiencing financial hardship to receive assistance with their electric bill payments. To learn more, visit ComEd.com/Support.   


food pantry

Food for Families in Need   

The Northern Illinois Food Bank maintains a list of mobile food pantries and pop-up food markets planned for Lake County. Families in need of food are invited to attend any of the markets to receive free groceries. No ID or registration is required. For a complete calendar, visit solve hunger today

You can also volunteer; my husband and I packed cereal at the Park City facility and there is always need for more help!


Health Insurance Enrollment Extended

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a special enrollment period for health insurance began on Feb. 15 and will be open through May 15Americans who are uninsured for any reason may purchase health insurance through the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace. Individuals who are already insured through the ACA but would like to change their current plan may do so at this time as well. Learn more and enroll at getcoveredillinois.gov. 


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for Small Businesses 

To provide continued support to small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration has opened the second round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program.  Learn more  

Recently, Lake County Partners hosted a webinar that provided insights into the latest important information about the PPP program. View the presentation  


job search

Employment Resources 

Are you looking for a job during this challenging time of layoffs, furloughs, and hiring freezes? Here are some helpful resources from the Job Center of Lake County:  

  • Job Search Resources in a Rough Market, March 9 at 1 p.m.Are you seeking a job or transitioning careers? The Job Center of Lake County can help! Hear our top tips for seeking work during a time of social distancing. Review our online tools to help you land your next job!  Register here 
  • Your Personal Brand and Resume, March 16 at 1 p.m.: Regardless of your job title or field, you have a personal brand. Learn how to customize your resume and other written tools to help you land a great job! Register here 
  • Find more workshops on the Job Center Calendar  
  • The Job Center of Lake County has computers you can use for your job searchFace coverings are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed. To schedule an appointment, call 847-377-3450.     
  • Get Hired IllinoisGet Hired Illinois is a single portal where individuals can access virtual job fairs, free online training, and current job listings.     

Call 211 to Get Connected to the Help You Need         

Iyou need help 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. For more information, visit www.211lakecounty.org.    

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Other News

water meter

Monitor Your Water Usage Online 

Interested to know the amount of water you used this month? Lake County Public Works customers can monitor their water usage with the water meter customer portal. You can even sign up to get a text if the usage is going above your set levelThis has helped alert customers of unknown water leaks and other issues. Watch the video or read the press release to learn more. 


PPE Distribution

More Than 2 Million Pieces of PPE Distributed 

The Lake County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) recently reached a milestone, distributing more than 2 million items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the last 11 months, including masks, gloves, gowns and other supplies. Those items were distributed to numerous organizations in need, including long-term care facilities, first responders, hospitals, healthcare workers, schools, and other local organizations that are on the front lines across Lake County.  Thank you to the LCEMA team for your hard work and dedication in keeping our residents and businesses safe. 

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Sheriff's Office News

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Lake County Corrections Officer Is Named Correctional Officer of the Year 

Congratulations and a big Thank You to Elvis Fejzic, Lake County Corrections Officer who was awarded the 2020 Correctional Officer of the Year Award by the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. Sheriff John D. Idleburg nominated Officer Fejzic for the award after he saved two lives by stopping two inmate suicide attempts in 2020. Learn more 


Sheriff K9 team

Record Amounts of Illegal Drugs and Weapons Seized in 2020 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group (SIG) set records in 2020, seizing nearly $3 million worth of illegal drugs and 55 illegally possessed firearms, resulting in 350 felony charges.  

Last June, Lake County was chosen for inclusion in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, operating under the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. This program provides federal support to law enforcement agencies in designated counties with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug production and trafficking, placing an emphasis on high-level drug trafficking organizations. Learn more 

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Forest Preserve News 

Oriole Grove

Oriole Grove Forest Preserve Master Plan 

The Lake County Forest Preserve is currently reviewing and voting on the final master plan for Oriole Grove, the property connecting Lake Forest Open Lands to the south and Lake Bluff Open Lands to the north. While this project is currently unfunded, several generous residents have expressed interest in funding the restoration of this critical connection. To learn more, click here.

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Virtual Exhibition Open 

The Bess Bower Dunn Museumoperated by the Lake County Forest Preserveslaunched its first virtual exhibition, "Our Voice is Black History: Past, Present, Future." It will run through Oct. 31. The exhibition and related programming are sponsored by the Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Lake County Forest Preserves, with additional support provided by College of Lake County (CLC), and USG. The exhibition will be open for in-person viewing at the Dunn Museum in Libertyville starting July 3. 

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Dunn Museum and the College of Lake County's Black Student Union. The Dunn Museum is partnering with CLC on several programs that will take place during the run of the exhibition. The first series of programs are virtual book clubs for various age groups. Tickets are required to attend the free virtual book club meetings conducted through Zoom. Learn more» 


virtual native gardeners club

Virtual Native Gardeners Club Begins 

Get ready for the spring gardening season with a Virtual Program: Native Gardeners Club–Ready, Set, Grow. Whether you’re new to native plant gardening or have a seasoned green thumb, everyone is welcome. The monthly program is designed to teach about native plants and how to use them in your home landscapes.    

Each session includes group discussions and plenty of time for questions. Eileen Davis and Jan Ward, environmental educators and avid native gardeners, will host the programs. Learn more and get a ticket.


Nature Blog

Lake County Nature Blog 

 We often address ecosystem restoration. Have you wondered what steps go into the decision-making process to restore a natural area? "The intensity and frequency of restoration work required depends upon where along a spectrum a particular natural area starts," says Pati Vitt, manager of restoration ecology at the Lake County Forest Preserves. "Generally, the more altered the landscape and the more human activity present there, the more intervention is needed." 

With this focus, Pati writes about the restoration work that's been underway this winter at Grant Woods Forest Preserve in Ingleside. Read more on our Lake County Nature blog» 

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Community Events and News

Lake County Restaurant Rally Feb. 26-March 7  

Support Lake County’s local restaurantsThe Lake County Restaurant Rally, sponsored by Visit Lake Countywill run from Feb. 26 to March 7. Check out the delicious cuisine and beverages created by our local restaurants, bars, distilleries, breweries and wineries.  Learn more    

Restaurant Rally 2021

maker faire

College of Lake County Maker Faire  

The College of Lake County is calling all makers to join the biggest show and tell in Lake County. YOU are a Maker if you craft, build, create, design, tinker and tweak just about anything. What do you make? Bring it to Maker Faire! Exhibits that have an interactive component for attendees are recommended.  Learn more Interested in applying to be a Maker?  Apply By March 20 


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Watch All County Board and Committee Meetings 

LCTV

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). The public is also welcome to view the livestream of all meetings in-person at 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, 10th Floor Assembly Room. 

The public can also offer "live" public comments during the Zoom meetings from the comfort of their own home or submit comments by email and phone call. Learn more     

To see a current schedule of board and committee meetings, click here.     

All meetings are recorded and are posted on the Lake County website