Network of Community Organizations Sees 30 Percent Jump in Pandemic Resource Requests Over Past Month

·3 min read

Illinois Public Health Association encourages boosters for seniors

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Community Health Workers throughout Illinois responded in September to more than 5,500 requests for immediate pandemic assistance, a more than 30 percent increase from the benchmark set in August, according to data released today by the Illinois Public Health Association.

Now live, the Pandemic Health Navigator Program connects Community Health Workers, health care providers, resources and education with vulnerable populations. (PRNewsfoto/Illinois Public Health Association)
Now live, the Pandemic Health Navigator Program connects Community Health Workers, health care providers, resources and education with vulnerable populations. (PRNewsfoto/Illinois Public Health Association)

Service requests were addressed by the team of well-trained 800 Community Health Workers hired through the Pandemic Health Navigator Program's network of community-based organizations and federally qualified health centers in 92 Illinois counties. Requests came from individuals experiencing hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic that infected nearly 109,500 Illinoisans in September – 1,023 of those cases were fatal.

"Community Health Workers are a support system for our neighbors trying to navigate the challenges and interruptions of a traumatic event, like the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Tracey Smith, director of community health and programs at the Illinois Public Health Association. "The September surge in COVID cases likely contributed to this increase in service requests, but we are also helping people affected now by the virus' long-term impact on their health and livelihood."

Since the Pandemic Health Navigator Program launched in April and through the end of September, Community Health Workers have fulfilled nearly 17,000 service requests. Of those, roughly 82 percent have been for basic human needs, such as food, income assistance, household items, or help finding a place to live. A comprehensive breakdown of the requests is available now for public inspection on the Program's new blog on helpguidethrive.org.

Despite the uptick, Community Health Workers were still able to turnaround most requests within 48 hours after receiving them from clients or through a local health department referral.

September also marked six months since Illinoisans at least 65 years old or with underlying medical conditions received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer. The Illinois Public Health Association renewed today their call for those inoculated six months ago with the Pfizer vaccine to get the single-dose booster shot, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late September.

"Data are showing the vaccines are effectively keeping people out of hospitals," Dr. Smith said. "We are fortunate to have vaccines readily available in Illinois. The job now is getting the people to the vaccine."

BACKGROUND
The Illinois Public Health Association (I.P.H.A.) is the state's oldest and largest public health association.

In partnership with the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, I.P.H.A. administers the state's Pandemic Health Navigator program in Regions 2 – 9 with grant funding provided by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. The Program supports over 80 community-based organizations and federally qualified health centers hire and train Community Health Workers who provide residents with meals, medication, work and income resources, immigration support, mental health services, and safe living conditions. I.P.H.A. also provides Community Health Workers with educational resources regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccines.

A full directory of service providers is available online at helpguidethrive.org.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

  • More data regarding September 2021 service requests is available online.

  • Schedule an interview with Dr. Tracey Smith of the Illinois Public Health Association. Please indicate your media affiliation and deadline.

  • Schedule to interview a Community Health Worker in Regions 2 – 9.

  • B-roll footage, logos, and fact sheets are available in the Digital Media Kit.

Cision
Cision

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SOURCE Illinois Public Health Association

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