Pritzker announces business aid with Illinois COVID-19 dead at 7,672

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday the state is distributing $46 million to small businesses that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The grants, which range from $10,000 to $20,000, are headed to 2,655 small businesses, including local restaurants, barbershops and gyms, Pritzker said. The money is coming from the Business Interruption Grant program, funded by federal CARES Act dollars. Businesses getting the money can use it for payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment and other pandemic-related expenses.

Pritzker said COVID-19 is not only affecting the most vulnerable people, but also the most vulnerable businesses. The money is going to businesses forced to close in the spring, when Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

Pritzker’s announcement came as the Department of Public Health reported 1,645 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, and 16 confirmed deaths. There have been 198,593 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease reported in the state and 7,672 confirmed deaths.

Department director Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike said a total of 1,525 victims of COVID-19 are hospitalized in Illinois, with 357 being treated in intensive care units and 129 of those on ventilators.

Illinois’ seven-day average positivity rate stood at 4.1% as of Tuesday. Ezike said.