37 more dead from COVID-19 as Pritzker announces new federal aid for hospitals
State health officials announced Tuesday that 37 more Illinois residents have died from COVID-19 and 587 more were infected.
That brings the state's death toll to 7,063 and the number of people infected since the outbreak began to 148,452.
While the state reported just 6 deaths from the respiratory disease on each of the past two days, the rise Tuesday is largely attributed to the fact coroners throughout the state are catching up with cases that occurred last weekend, most county coroner offices were closed.
The state's seven-day average infection rate dipped slightly Tuesday to 2.5%. The state is averaging 29,553 test results per day during the past week, with 752 showing new cases each day.
Only 3.9% of all hospital beds in the state are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients, including 320 in intensive care, according to Illinois Department of Public Health figures.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state had received $250 million in additional federal aid for hospitals Tuesday. The money is intended to "build upon efforts to provide quality health care to communities across Illinois that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic," according to a news release from the governor's office.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the nation's critical need for more equitable health care access and delivery, particularly in Black and Brown communities and for those who are uninsured or underinsured," the release said.
As part of the programs signed into law by Pritzker, $81.4 million will be distributed to 24 "safety net hospitals" that serve lower-income residents, and $14 million will be divided among 51 qualifying "critical access hospitals," which serve rural parts of the state.
The state's 30 "high Medicaid hospitals" will see an additional $86 million in distributed funding. Sixty-nine "general acute hospitals" will divide $62.1 million. Ten "psych hospitals" will share $2.4 million, six "long-term acute care hospitals" will split $1.2 million, and four "rehab hospitals" will receive $2.3 million to share.
In Illinois, Black and Hispanic residents have seen higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and infections per capita, according to state figures.
"We are bringing in significant and vital new funding to safety net hospitals and others that serve high percentages of Medicaid members," said Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson. "This is crucial, especially in historically underserved communities of color throughout our state."