Dear Constituents,

Please find my e-Newsletter for Tuesday, April 14, 2020.  As we enter a month of this mandatory lockdown, I want to encourage all of you to spend time with your family, and doing activities with them that create lasting memories.

We hope you find the following information useful. In the meantime, if you need immediate assistance, or may have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the office at 773-473-7300.
Stay encouraged. Stay well. Most importantly, stay safe.

Camille Y. Lilly
State Representative, 78th District
Illinois House of Representatives
101st General Assembly

Governor Pritzker Announces Expansion of Testing and Alternate Housing in Communities of Color

Building on robust efforts to address the health and safety of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker announced the expansion of testing, new alternate housing options, and the issuance of statewide guidance to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color and people with disabilities across the state.

"Generations of systemic disadvantages in healthcare delivery and healthcare access in communities of color, and Black communities in particular, are now amplified in this crisis all across the state and across the nation," said Governor JB Pritzker. "We are making sure that our plans reflect equity in access, testing and treatment and we are asking the same of healthcare providers across the state. It's in moments of crisis that we owe each other even greater expressions of humanity."

Expansion of Testing

Through a partnership with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and four Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) on Chicago’s South and West Sides, Illinois will expand testing in these communities over the next several days to an additional 400 tests per day.

The four FHQCs are Lawndale Christian Health Center, PCC Community Wellness Center, Chicago Family Health Center and Friend Family Health Center. The swabs collected at these four FQHCs will be sent to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for testing. FQHCs are community-based health centers that welcome those who are low-income, uninsured or underinsured.

In Illinois' Metro East region, three locations of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation system will be offering up to 470 swabs per day early next week. The swabs will be sent to Anderson Hospital in Madison County for testing. This partnership will assist communities in East St. Louis and the surrounding region.

Additionally, the state-run South Suburban drive-through testing center will open early next week in the Markham-Harvey area. The testing center will be running hundreds of tests per day, with results coming back to patients faster than the federally-contracted labs.

As the state works to get to widespread testing, we ask people who get tested to fill out a basic demographical survey. Approximately 50.9 percent leave a blank response to the question about racial identification, as is their right to do so. As of April 9, the testing data is as follows:

Expansion of Alternate Housing

Through Illinois' early crisis preparations, the state required each local jurisdiction to prepare an alternate housing plan to help residents quarantine in a safe space. The state moved quickly to prepare up to 2,000 hotel rooms across Illinois to support that response.

The state has facilities with rooms that could be ready to be activated next week in Springfield, Rockford, Metro East, the Quad Cities, Schaumburg, Mt. Vernon, Peoria, Carbondale, Quincy, Marion, Macomb, Champaign and the collar counties. The state is also supporting the City of Chicago and Cook County in building out their own significant response.

Across Illinois, multi-generational families live in one home, and in our cities, families or roommates live in smaller apartment units that make self-isolating much more difficult.

These rooms will be available to help address that need and will be available to residents who tested positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospital-level care or for asymptomatic high-risk individuals who need social distancing as a precautionary measure. These rooms will also be available to medical professionals and first responders.

Residents will be able to access these resources through their local health departments, who play a vital role in assisting the state with our COVID-19 response. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has directed $6.8 million dollars of its COVID-19 response funds to support every health department across the state.

Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for COVID-19

The state has issued guidance to the healthcare community on their obligations to provide healthcare in an ethical, equitable and nondiscriminatory manner to people of color, people with disabilities, and all Illinoisans.

Healthcare institutions should review their protocols regarding allocation and rationing of limited healthcare resources to ensure that they incorporate the fundamental principles of fairness, equity, and non-discrimination.

Significant legal protections are in place to prohibit discrimination in the delivery of healthcare. These laws provide a mandate to healthcare providers at all times, including during the current COVID-19 crisis. The guidance provides recommendations for the delivery of appropriate care both during the immediate public health crisis caused by COVID-19 as well as to address the continued impact of the crisis on the healthcare system.

The guidance can be accessed by visiting:

Covid-19- Related Financial Assistance for Small Businesses

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Offers Additional Relief for Small Businesses

Our staff and the Small Business Development Centers across the state will be available to assist businesses with accessing available supports for those impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Eating during COVID-19: Improve your mood and lower stress

Uma Naidoo, MD
Contributor, Harvard Medical School
My patients these days are expressing more angst and fear, and looking to find ways to cope with the pandemic and the “new normal.” With children and entire families home together all day, and work and school schedules disrupted, loss of a daily routine can increase anxiety and disrupt healthy eating. One of the drivers for this increase in anxiety seems to be uncertainty, which can throw plans for healthy eating out the window.

Meal planning for a family, a challenge on its own, can be more so now with seclusion at home, more people to feed with different tastes, and more food stores with limited groceries and shopping times. There’s also the uncertainly of bare shelves, with normal staples of a nutritious diet unavailable, at least temporarily. It’s tempting to buy whatever is available, even if it’s not something that’s part of your normal diet.

It’s hard to cope with being quarantined and not reach for your favorite salty, crunchy snack because of boredom or feeling on edge. A few pretzels or chips are okay, but many people may not be able to step away from eating the entire bag once it’s open. Also, if you’re already feeling blue, the quick fix of cookies or cake will ultimately make you feel worse. Processed foods and shelf-stable items like baked goods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates that create a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar, which can drive anxiety and worsen mood.

How then can we mindfully make good food choices?

  • Make a schedule or a daily meal plan. A schedule is more predictable for you and for everyone in your household.
  • Consider apps to stay connected around a meal. Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime with family and friends. Share recipes or even cook virtually together.
  • Plan for groceries. Try to buy fewer processed, high-salt or high-sugar snacks.
  • Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
  • Save money. Skip the high-sugar soda and juices; instead flavor water with edible citrus or berries.
  • Plan and enjoy an occasional comfort food for a weekly treat — pick a day and enjoy whatever you want, just not all your favorites on the same day!
  • Manage your environment. If candy is simply not in the cupboard, then you can’t eat it.
You might be surprised to learn that certain nutrients in foods have been shown to reduce anxiety or spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine — and we all want to feel as good as we can during these times of uncertainty. People are feeling a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress worsens feelings of low mood or angst, and it also suppresses our immune systems. Therefore, targeting immune-boosting foods will have a dual effect — you may feel less anxious and boost your immunity.

I’d suggest incorporating these foods as a way to include healthier options into your nutrition during this unusual time of stress and uncertainty. We all have to eat, so attending to our nutrition is something we can all control, and then reap the benefits of an improved mood.

Reduce anxiety and boost immunity by choosing:

  • Citrus fruit and red bell peppers (both rich in vitamin C, which in some studies has been shown to support your immune system)
  • Spices: ginger, garlic, turmeric, and capsaicin (from chili peppers) can be easily added to soups, stews, stir-frys, or salad dressings.
  • Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, clams, mussels, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks. You may recognize zinc as an ingredient is the cold remedy Zicam, as zinc has some virus-fighting effects.
  • Magnesium-rich foods may help you to feel calmer, and help support immunity. Stress can deplete our magnesium levels too. Examples are legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains.
  • Fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. A study on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety.
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir.
  • Add some antioxidants to your anti-anxiety diet, which can support your immune system.

The bottom line:

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety (and boredom) can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around. But with a little thought and planning, you can continue to make good food choices and maybe even boost your mood and immunity.

For more information, listen to our podcasts and see our Coronavirus Resource Center.
Join Us  on MONDAYS for Constituent Night!

I, State Representative Camille Y. Lilly, enjoy meeting with the constituents of the 78th District on Mondays for Constituent Night from 5-8p.m. at the district office located at 6937 W. North Ave.  Please call the district office for an appointment/questions at 773-473-7300 or email us at

Hope to See You Soon!
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Honored to S.E.R.V.E. – Serving Every Residents Vision Equally
Chicago ● Elmwood Park ● Melrose Park ● Franklin Park ● Oak Park ● River Grove

6937 W. North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302


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State Representative Camille Y. Lilly · 6937 W. North Ave · Oak Park, IL 60302 · USA