healthdeptbldg 050120ROCKFORD - To help local health departments sustain their COVID-19 response efforts in addition to their basic functions, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and other downstate Senate Democrats are pushing to double state funding to support local health departments for the coming year.

The plan would increase funding for Local Health Protection Grants to $36 million in the state’s next budget, which Stadelman agrees is key to opening up the economy.

 “Winnebago County’s recovery from COVID-19 will definitely need a fully staffed and better funded health department, and I think it’s safe to say that nearly all 100 other local health departments are in the same situation,” Stadelman said. “We need these departments operating as efficiently as possible if we want to reopen our state and local economies.”

With mounting fiscal uncertainty for county and municipal budgets, local public health efforts could be severely effected. As a member of the Senate Public Health Committee, Stadelman believes the state needs to reinforce support for local health departments.

“We are living in an unprecedented time,” Stadelman said. “We need to ensure that local health departments continue to be fully funded as local governments begin to cut back on spending.”

Local Health Protection Grants provide funding to certified local health departments to ensure that basic levels of protection for Illinois residents are maintained at the community level for infectious diseases, food protection, safety of potable water supply and private sewage disposal. Funds are distributed by the Illinois Department of Public Health based on a formula that includes population and poverty levels within each jurisdiction.