Illinois Health Officials Report 1,551 Additional Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and 119 Deaths, Announce Relief Options for Private and Non-Federal Student Loans

bebarnes | PixabayMost of Illinois will officially allow activities such as outdoor dining, salons and gatherings of 10 or less people to resume today, but Chicago isn’t moving as fast.

Illinois health officials reported 1,551 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 119 additional deaths statewide April 21. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois to 33,059, with 1,468 deaths, reported in 96 counties across the state.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced loan relief in the state of Illinois for students repaying non-federal and private loans in his daily press conference.

Pritzker mentioned how the federal CARES Act provided much-needed relief for those with federal student loans struggling financially as a result of COVID-19. This included automatic suspension of monthly payments and interest and halted involuntary collection until Sept. 30.  

“But that federal act left out millions of people nationwide who are repaying private and non-federal student loans,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has worked to secure loan relief options with twenty student loan servicers. This will allow borrowers to request a 90-day forbearance, waived late fees, no negative credit reporting, a pause on debt collection lawsuits for 90 days and enrollment in other assistance programs, Pritzker said. 

These new relief options are part of a new multi-state agreement which includes borrowers in Illinois, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state. Pritzker said 140,000 additional students with student loans in Illinois will be able to get relief.

He said borrowers in the mentioned states can contact their loan providers immediately to utilize these relief options. If Illinois students face problems, Pritzker said they should reach out to IDFPR’s Division of Banking, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General or the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  

Pritzker also announced the expansion of benefits for Illinois SNAP households with school-aged students. The assistance, worth $112 million, will benefit 300,000 children in the state, he said. 

The Department of Human Services is also working on extending this service to children who receive free or reduced meals at schools even if their families are ineligible for SNAP benefits, according to Pritzker.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) also said that 60 percent of Illinois’ ventilators are still available for use. However, she said more than half of the ventilators that are in use by COVID-19 patients. She also said that 50 percent of ICU beds in the state are being used by COVID-19 patients. 

While Ezike shared that 77 percent of people who tested positive four weeks ago have recovered, she still urged everyone to stay at home or wear masks when outside.

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