Gov Comes to Aurora VNA to Announce Pandemic Health Navigator Program – Kane County Connects

Governor JB Pritzker was in Aurora today (Monday, April 26, 2021) to announce that the state will power up the country Pandemic Health Navigator Program, which aims to connect people to COVID-19 vaccination and testing services on a hyperlocal level.

Governor JB Pritzker at the press conference in Aurora on Monday

The Pandemic Health Navigator Program is a nationwide network of public and private sector health and community organizations whose mission is to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 through educating and reaching out to vulnerable communities.

Already running in communities across the state, the program integrates community health centers, community organizations, and public health partners to coordinate resources available for regions in Illinois hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic .

“We have reached a point where supply will soon exceed demand,” said Pritzker during a press conference at Aurora VNA at 11 am. “Providing vaccines is only half the battle here. Many of our residents may not yet be sure of the risks or are wondering whether the vaccine is really worth it. A critical component in getting Illinois out of this pandemic is removing these barriers. “

Pritzker said Illinois is now way above the national average with 56% of people 18 and over getting a first dose.

The state is stepping up efforts to ensure that the population balance receives a vaccine. He said that herd immunity typically makes up 70% to 85% of the population.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and others were among the speakers at the press conference.

The communities that should participate in this grant opportunity include:

  • Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin

    Racial and ethnic minorities including, but not limited to: African American / Black, Arab, Asian / Pacific Islander, Hispanic / Latino, American Indian / Native Alaska

  • Persons born abroad
  • People with limited knowledge of English
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who live near or below the federal poverty line
  • Separate youth
  • People affected by homelessness
  • People who live in rural areas
  • People with disabilities (including the deaf and hard of hearing)
  • Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Respondents or Queer
  • Older adults

The Pandemic Health Navigator program is run across Illinois outside of Cook County, also known as Regions 1-9. The Illinois Department of Health has granted $ 60 million in funding to regional coordinators to ensure that resources are available to residents in need, either through direct services and / or subcontracting to state-qualified health centers and other community facilities.

The OSF health system acts as the regional coordinator for Region 1 and the IPHA acts as the regional coordinator for Regions 2-9. Kane County is in Region 8.

Earlier this year, PHNP began efforts to provide community-level organizations and state-qualified health centers with funding, training, and resources to serve local Illinois residents. So far, 65 CBOs and 23 FQHCs are participating in the program.

These partnerships have helped recruit more than 400 community health workers and regional regulators, with the goal of hiring hundreds more over the next three months.

The PHNP team is also working and coordinating with the public health system in the assigned regions, including local health departments (LHDs), to support the contact tracing efforts and ensure that all communities receive the support they need and help Reduce disparities in health outcomes.

“In recovering from the health, social, and economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the importance of providing education, resources, and guidance from the people of Illinois to residents of Illinois they trust, “said Tom Hughes, executive director of IPHA. “We pride ourselves on leading a network of community health workers who are already making an impact by connecting vulnerable populations with vital education and resources – such as access to food and health services – that enable these communities to move forward . “

“While we’re on the back of the pandemic, we’re seeing more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day in Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We want to continue to support people infected with the virus to make sure they have the resources they need to overcome their illness. In particular, we want to make sure they have access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as others in the communities where they live. “

IPHA and IPHCA will be subcontracting FQHCs and community-based agencies in COVID-19 Regions 2-9 of Illinois to recruit the Navigators for local COVID-19 training and outreach, support contact tracing as needed, and cases and contacts with them to connect critical services and resources. This may include resources for meals, medication, mobility support, immigration issues, labor and income resources, mental health support, support for unsafe living conditions (e.g. domestic violence), etc. during isolation and quarantine.

“This program is an important resource in supporting the health needs of our communities, particularly various communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cyrus Winnett, Interim President and CEO of IPHCA. Community health centers and community-based organizations provide trusted local support to ensure Illinois people receive the health education, reach, and resources they need to be healthy and safe.

To better understand the views and needs of Illinois communities during the pandemic, the IPHA and IPHCA recently conducted a survey of more than 800 residents.

The survey results showed that Illinois residents need guidance and highlighted the importance of sharing accurate information and clearing up common misunderstandings. The survey yielded the following data:

  • One in five residents said they were unable or unsure to tell the difference between scientific facts and misinformation or false claims on the Internet.
  • 21% of residents said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • More than half (57%) of respondents said they were open to working with a community health worker.

“Healthcare providers have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 from day one,” said Linnea Windel, President and CEO of VNA Health Care. “The Pandemic Health Navigator program will provide us with additional tools, resources and community health. ” People who support our fight against this virus and help our patients and the wider community to cope with it together. “

For more information on the program and to connect with a local health worker, please visit

Pritzker press conference on Facebook

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