Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As the United States continues to address the coronavirus pandemic, I’m focused on ensuring the federal government is doing everything it can to support the health and safety of Illinoisans.  Addressing the spread of the virus will take a whole-of-government approach and coordination with the State of Illinois as preventive measures are implemented.  We also must support working families during this difficult time and provide health care professionals and scientists with every resource they need for treatments and research into COVID-19.

- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin



The first bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided $7.8 billion to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including funding for patient monitoring, lab testing, acquisition of test kits and protective equipment, and research into vaccines and therapeutics. A fact sheet on the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act is available here.

The second bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided $100 billion to help protect families’ economic security, food security, and health security. A fact sheet on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is available here.

The third bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided nearly $2.2 trillion to help working families, small businesses, and communities during the coronavirus outbreak. A fact sheet on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is available here.

  • A section-by-section of the package is available here.
  • A question and answer document is available here.

The fourth bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided a total of $484 billion, primarily focused on helping small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.  The bill also provides funding for hospitals and health care providers and for testing capabilities. A fact sheet on the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act is available here.


Small Business

The CARES Act created several programs to help support small businesses:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans of up to $10 million.  Up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs can be forgiven if the business retains its employees.  Principal and interest will be deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived.  More information on how to apply is available here.  Locate a lender in your area that can process your PPP application here.
  • Grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that apply for a SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. The grant does not need to be repaid.  More information on how to apply is available here.
  • Immediate relief for small businesses with existing SBA loans.  SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months.
  • A fully-refundable payroll tax credit for employers covering up to 50% of employee wages and certain health benefits paid to employees. Additional information is available here.
  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees who are required to provide emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid family leave are eligible for a refundable tax credit to cover the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees.  More information can be found here.  

For additional information on eligibility, loan terms, and forgiveness, a Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act is available here.

A section-by-section summary of the small business provisions in the CARES Act is available here.


State and Local Grant Funding (Coronavirus Relief Fund)

The CARES Act includes $150 billion in direct federal grant funding to states, local governments, and tribes to help fund expenditures incurred in responding to the coronavirus outbreak as well as to offset the cost of other essential government services not budgeted for in the wake of the economic downturn.  The funds apply to expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

The U.S. Treasury must allocate these funds to states within 30 days with funding distributed among the states based on population and 45 percent of each state’s funds set aside for units of local government that serve populations of at least 500,000. 

  • That means that the City of Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, and Will County will be able to apply for this federal funding directly from the Treasury. 
  • All other municipalities will be able to access this funding through the state.

Additional information for state and local governments is available here

The CARES Act provided an additional $45 billion in disaster relief funding to support COVID-19 response.  Illinois’ Major Disaster Declaration enables local governments and certain private non-profit organizations to apply for Public Assistance for eligible response activities through FEMA.  Applicants must apply through the State.   More information can be found here.


Helping Working Families

The bipartisan bills include several provisions to help families deal with the impact of the outbreak:

  • Expands unemployment insurance eligibility for workers impacted by coronavirus including an additional $600 in benefits per worker, per week through July 31, 2020.  Information about how to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance can be found here.
  • Provides emergency paid sick leave (up to 80 hours) for employees who are quarantined, are caring for a loved one, or need to take care of a child whose school has closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus.  Additional information is available here.

  • Provides emergency paid family leave (up to 10 weeks) to care for a child whose school has closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus.  Additional information is available here.

  • Authorizes direct cash payments to most individuals and families of at least $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples).   Additional information is available here.  You can check your payment status here.
  • The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020.  More information from the Internal Revenue Service is available here.


Hospital & Health Providers Funding

The CARES Act included several provisions to provide relief and support for the heroic efforts of our nation’s frontline health care workers. 


Provider Relief Fund.  The Act created a fund to distribute $100 billion in direct, emergency funding to medical facilities and providers who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. 

  • The Department of Health and Human Services distributed $30 billion to facilities and providers across the United States who received Medicare reimbursements in 2019. 
  • The Department is working to focus the remaining $70 billion on medical facilities and providers in areas hit hard by the coronavirus, providers in rural communities, and providers who predominantly serve Medicaid patients, such as children’s hospitals.
  • Additional information is available here.


Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.  This expanded program provides up-front, lump sum Medicare payments to medical facilities and providers for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.

  • Medical facilities and providers may request up to 125 percent of their Medicare payment amounts for a six-month period, which must be repaid. 
  • Additional information is available here.


Education Stablization Fund

The CARES Act includes $30.8 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) to assist elementary and secondary as well as higher education meet the additional burdens associated with coronavirus.  More information will be available from ED on applying for these funds in the coming days.  The funds will be allocated among the three components.

  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund ($3 billion nationally).  Funding will be awarded to local educational agencies deemed to be most significantly impacted by coronavirus at the discretion of the State. 
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund ($13.5 billion nationally).  Provides formula grants to state educational agencies for distribution to local educational agencies.  The Illinois State Board of Education has provided information about this funding here and preliminary estimates by district here
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ($14.25 billion nationally).  Provides formula grants to institutions of higher education.    


Federal Student Loan Relief

The CARES Act suspends federal Direct student loan monthly payments—interest free—for six months until September 30, 2020. More information and FAQs can be found here



CDC Resources -



Illinois COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-889-3931



All public schools in Illinois have suspended in-person instruction through April 30.  More information from the Illinois State Board of Education can be found here

All Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be open at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm to offer free meals for CPS students.  Families can pick up meals outside of the CPS school nearest to them – they DO NOT need to pick up meals at their school of attendance. Families can find their nearest CPS school here. Select charter school locations will also offer meals; a link to those locations can be found hereFamilies across Illinois needing information (also available in Spanish) about where to receive meals for their children while schools are closed can find it here.

Information on how to talk to your child about COVID-19 or helping them cope can be found here.



As of March 19, 2020, the Department of State has advised all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  

Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

If you have a COVID-19 virus related emergency overseas, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or call our assistance call center:


SmartTraveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Any U.S. citizens who do travel overseas should enroll in the Department of State’s SmartTraveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Enrollment in STEP enables the American Citizen Services unit in the U.S. Embassy in each country to reach out directly to a U.S. citizen in need of assistance.  STEP also allows U.S. citizens to receive Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc.

Additional information for travelers: