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Last updated July 15, 2020.
What actions has the City taken so far?
- Closed the Highland Park Senior Center and canceled Senior Center programming until further notice (March 11, 2020)
- Canceled all non-essential public meetings (March 11, 2020)
- Closed the Highland Park Public Library (March 12, 2020)
- Closed all municipal buildings to the public (March 16, 2020)
- Issued a Declaration of Emergency (March 14, 2020)
- Issued an Emergency Order directing closure of health clubs, recreational clubs, and motion picture/live performance theaters (March 17, 2020)
- Suspended all walk-in administrative services (March 18, 2020)
- Suspended the Senior Connector Bus (March 24, 2020)
- Closed all Metra station buildings (March 27, 2020)
- Limited visitors to multi-family buildings (March 31, 2020)
- Implemented new procedures to host virtual meetings (April 6, 2020)
- Approved financial relief for commercial tenants in City-owned property (April 6, 2020)
- Required the use of face coverings in public, effective April 20, 2020 (April 17, 2020)
What actions can I take to protect myself and my family?
This simulation from the New York Times illustrates why social distancing is so important to reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Here are additional social distancing strategies to reduce the spread of disease:
- Stay home as much as possible. COVID-19 is highly contagious and there is clear evidence of community spread throughout Lake County. Staying home saves lives.
- Only leave your home for essential services, like grocery or pharmacy shopping and healthcare needs.
- Avoid touching the face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and water for at least twenty seconds.
- When you must leave your home, practice good “social distancing” by keeping a six-foot distance from individuals outside your household.
- Wear a fabric face covering to protect yourself and others when you must leave your home.
- Enjoy fresh air through an open window or in your backyard.
- Use technology to engage with friends and family via videoconferencing or phone.
What symptoms should I watch out for? What should I do if I observe any of these symptoms?
If you observe any of the following symptoms, call your healthcare provider. They will ask questions and provide next steps for treatment. Your healthcare provider can answer any personal medical questions, and the Illinois Department of Public Health answers questions about COVID-19 at firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents may also contact Highland Park Hospital at 847.432.5849 or visit www.northshoreconnect.org.
NorthShore University HealthSystem asks residents experiencing the symptoms below to please contact the community health hotline at 847.432.5849 or begin an E-Visit through NorthShoreConnect.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
- Loss or decrease in sense of smell
- Loss or decrease in sense of taste
- Fever (temperature of 100 or higher)
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Flu-like body aches
If you are calling for emergency assistance please inform the dispatcher of any of the above symptoms.
What are good sources of information about COVID-19?
Lake County Health Department
The Lake County Health Department is coordinating county-wide response and offers a wealth of information on its dedicated COVID-19 website. Resources available from the LCHD include:
- Informational videos, including PSAs, Q&A with Dr. Sana Ahmed, and messages from Lake County leaders
- News and daily case counts, updated daily
- County-wide statistics dashboard, updated daily
Illinois Department of Public Health
New: Illinois Department of Public Health State-wide Dashboard
On Monday, April 6, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) launched a new, statewide COVID-19 statistics dashboard. The dashboard includes a wealth of data on the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. Demographic data includes age, race, and gender, and the dashboard reports on both confirmed cases and deaths. The data can be sorted by county or zip code, and will be updated daily.
State of Illinois: coronavirus.illinois.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirus
Where can I find information about Restore Illinois, Governor Pritzker's plan to reopen the Illinois economy?
Restore Illinois is a five-phase plan designed to navigate the coronavirus pandemic and reopen the statewide economy, including business, education, and recreation. "Restore Illinois" prioritizes saving lives and livelihoods through a safe reopening of the state's regions; the City of Highland Park is in the northeast region. This approach will allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to make a recommendation as to the reopening of a particular region based on its reported metrics. The IDPH is tracking this data by region on its website. More information about the plan is accessible at coronavirus.illinois.gov and an FAQ is available from the IDPH. The City has also prepared a Restore Illinois FAQ.
July 15, 2020: Office of the Governor and IDPH release COVID-19 Mitigation Plan (News Release; Plan). The Plan addresses strategies that may be implemented to control an outbreak or surge in cases of COVID-19.
June 22, 2020: State of Illinois Issues Phase 4 Guidelines for Reopening. An overview of changes from Phase 3 has also been released. All regions of the State are on track to enter Phase 4 on Friday, June 26, 2020. More information will shared as it becomes available.
The data-driven plan was developed in consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health, stakeholders from a variety of sectors, and elected officials and leaders from different regions of the state. The plan identifies five phases of the coronavirus pandemic, divides the state into four regions, and specifies benchmarks related to cases and healthcare capacity, testing, and tracing that each region must meet in order to progress to the next phase. The full Restore Illinois plan provides specific criteria for progress and describes scenarios that could cause a particular region to take a step back, such as a significant outbreak that threatens a region's overall health.
The plan will be reviewed and updated as necessary in response to ongoing analysis of public health data and new scientific developments.
What is contact tracing?
Contract tracing has been identified as a key strategy in tracking and controlling the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing asks individuals with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis to try to identify, as best as they can, where they may have traveled, and who they may have encountered before they were diagnosed. Local health departments then follow up with those businesses and individuals to advise them of a potential COVID-19 exposure.
The following video from the Lake County Health Department provides more information about contact tracing:
Where can I find information from Highland Park Hospital?
Find the most updated information from NorthShore University HealthSystem on their website, including an FAQ, readiness plans, and information about donations.
NorthShore University HealthSystem posts regularly to Facebook.
Highland Park High School student Stephen Knobel recorded an interview regarding coronavirus with Dr. James Castle MD, a neurologist with North Shore University Health System and a mentor in the City's Career Exploration Program.
Where can I find information for small business owners?
The City’s Office of Business Development is working to provide regular updates to our business community, understanding the great sacrifices business owners and employees are making to support city- and statewide measures to protect public health. Visit this page for the latest information for business owners.
To receive these updates in your inbox, please sign up for our Business Development eNews.
Where can I find information about grocery or restaurant delivery?
The City has created a new, interactive map of Highland Park restaurants which provides updated information about local restaurants that are open for outdoor dining, carryout, curbside pickup, and delivery at this time.
Where can I find information about economic relief for individuals, families, or businesses?
The Office of Senator Dick Durbin has prepared an overview of the coronavirus stimulus package passed last month as well as a topical FAQ. Highlights of the relief package include a number of loan and grant programs to assist small businesses in covering payroll and paid sick and family leave, to support business owners in retaining employees. Relief for families includes an expansion of unemployment insurance eligibility, namely an increase in benefits and emergency paid sick leave for employees who are quarantined or caring for a loved one, including children. It also provides for direct cash payments to individuals and families according to income.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) has prepared an overview of financial relief and other resources, including mortgage assistance, unemployment compensation, paid sick and family leave, student loan relief, and more. CPAH staff continue to provide phone consultations and free classes via Zoom.
The City's Office of Business Development is regularly sharing information for business owners, including opportunities for financial relief, best practices, and webinars.
Where can I find information about filing for unemployment assistance?
The Illinois Department of Employmetn Security administers unemployment benefits to qualifying individuals. The IDES website provides information specific to COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits.'
Individuals may file unemployment benefit claims online or by phone. IDES is currently processing an extremely high volume of unemployment benefit claims due to COVID-19. Please note that the online filing and claims applications will be unavailable every night from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM for daily processing.
IDES has implemented a filing schedule which applies to claims filed online and over the phone:
Online Filing Schedule:
- Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
- Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
- Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
- Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
- Fridays (7:30am – 6pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Where can seniors find information about benefit programs to assist with medication, healthcare costs, or other services?
The National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp provides information about over 2,500 benefit programs available to seniors. Visit benefitscheckup.org and enter your zip code to learn more. An FAQ page provides information about how COVID-19 may impact some benefit programs.
NCOA also provides information about COVID-19 especially for seniors.
Where can I find information about essential and non-essential businesses?
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has prepared guidance for business owners regarding essential and non-essential operations.
Please note that only essential businesses may provide curbside pick-up and delivery. Non-essential business owners may go to their place of business to photograph and maintain inventory. Inventory may be sold online and shipped via third-party delivery services such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx. Non-essentially businesses may not provide curbside pick-up and delivery.
On Thursday, April 23, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the extension of the State's Stay at Home Order, first issued on March 20, 2020. The Order, which will go into effect on May 1, 2020 and continue through May 30, 2020, incorporates several modifications designed to lessen some restrictions while still actively managing the spread of COVID-19 and the burden it places on the healthcare system. Learn more here. Highlights of those changes for businesses include:
Essential businesses and manufacturers may continue operations provided they follow new requirements to maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of customers and employees, including:
- Provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing
- Comply with occupancy limits for essential businesses
- Take precautions such as staggering shifts or, for manufacturers, operating only essential lines
- Greenhouses, garden centers, and nurseries
- Animal grooming services
Non-essential retail stores may resume limited operations to fulfill telephone and online orders. They may also provide curbside pick-up outside their stores, as well as delivery. Retail stores not designated as essential businesses may not reopen to foot traffic.
Who can I contact if I feel unsafe in my home?
Guidance from public health officials is clear that staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of illness. If you or someone you know is living in danger or in an abusive environment, help is available.
North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic is accepting phone consultations to provide free, confidential assistance, particularly to victims of domestic violence by calling 847.737.4042. Download and share flyers about NS Legal Aid Clinic services in English and Spanish to spread the word.
Help is also available for survivors of sexual assault via RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.4673.
Who can I contact if I feel lonely, depressed, or in crisis?
If you or someone you know is feeling stressed, anxious, or in crisis - you are not alone, and help is available.
Confidential crisis support is always available via:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255; chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline: 800.985.5990; text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741-741
- In an emergency, always dial 911
Referrals for Lake County-based social services:
- 211 Lake County: call 211; text zip code to 898211; visit 211lakecounty.org
For more health and wellness resources, visit https://www.cityhpil.com/resident/covid-19/mental_health_and_wellness.php
Are parks and playgrounds open?
Many Park District of Highland Park outdoor facilities have been reopened, with new guidelines in place. The Park District is maintaining a status listing for all facilities.
Please be sure to familiarize yourself with any guidelines, restrictions, or operational changes that have been implemented to allow everyone to safely enjoy our beautiful outdoor spaces.
What steps has the City taken to ensure water quality?
Maintaining the safety of the City's water supply is one of our highest priorities. The World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have all stated there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus survives the municipal drinking water purification process. The Highland Park Water Plant's state-of-the-art facilities and procedures ensure the continued high quality and safety of the City's tap water.
The Highland Park Water Plant's membrane ultrafiltration system removes particles as small as 1/10 micron. Following filtration, our Lake Michigan tap water is disinfected with chlorine.
Throughout the treatment process, water quality is monitored continuously by automated instrumentation and organism removal is verified daily in our certified laboratory. Virus removal is calculated daily to ensure a minimum removal of 99.99%.
Annually, the City publishes a comprehensive water quality report, the 'Consumer Confidence Report,' or CCR, which is currently available on our website.
How is the City communicating with residents? How frequently?
For the latest news from the City, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our e-newsletter. eNews is sent on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, and as needed throughout the week.
For emergency alerts, please sign up for Smart911. Smart911 provides emergency responders with important information about you and any household members during an emergency. Sign up today by downloading the app or visiting www.smart911.com. All information is confidential.
Are residents required to wear face masks or face coverings?
Statewide guidelines require all individuals ages 2+ to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces, as well as outdoors when a six foot distance from others cannot be maintained. Detailed information about wearing a face covering is available here.
The CDC has prepared a guide for wearing face coverings, and the City has also created a flyer with information from the CDC and World Health Organization.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has shared a social story regarding face coverings from Hands and Voices, an organization advocating for the needs of Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children. The story uses real pictures and simple language to help children understand why it is important to wear face coverings. Please note that the story uses the term "face masks," because it is simpler and more accessible for children.
As a reminder, healthcare workers and first responders can only use medical-grade masks. There is no need for members of the public to wear N95 or surgical masks. If you have a supply of N95 or surgical masks and are willing to donate them to healthcare workers, click here to learn more .
Where can I find information/patterns to make my own face covering?
Click here for more information about wearing and making face coverings.
There are many patterns available:
How can I donate face coverings or medical-grade masks to the City?
Donations of fabric face coverings for residents of the City's senior living facilities would be welcome. Completed face coverings may be donated in the City's Payment Drop Box, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the Hazel Street Parking Lot adjacent to City Hall, or left at the front entrance of City Hall during normal business hours.
If you would like to donate medical-grade masks for the City's first responders, please click here for more information.