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Gov. JB Pritzker, Public Health Chief Dr. Ngozi Ezike Address Concerns of Older Adults in AARP COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall

Gov. JB Pritzker, Public Health Chief Dr. Ngozi Ezike Address Concerns of Older Adults in AARP COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing the mounting fear and isolation felt by Illinois residents 60+, who are at increased risk for serious illness from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Gov. JB Pritzker and Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will speak live with tens of thousands of older adults in a telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, 4/1 at 7 p.m.

The telephone Town Hall will offer participants a chance to hear directly from the governor and top health official about the importance of social distancing, measures to protect residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and senior housing, and other pressing concerns for older adults across the state. 

"Our social distancing efforts are the most important thing we can do to protect our seniors and support our health care workers—that's why we're working to keep the public informed and use science and facts to make decisions that protect the health and wellbeing of our seniors," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "From creating special hours for seniors to shop for essentials, to enacting telehealth policies my administration is here to support you in any way we can, because I know seniors are the foundation of our community."

Participants in the Town Hall will also be able to share their experiences and ask questions during the hour-long conversation, developed to address growing concerns about health, wellness and service offerings. 

The Town Hall will be available to 150,000 AARP members across Illinois as well as members of the general public through a Facebook and Twitter Livestream. Data shows that members of the older population, specifically people that are age 60 or older are more vulnerable to COVID-19, which causes a respiratory illness that can lead to serious cases of pneumonia.   

"Each day, we hear from older adults across the state who have questions about how this crisis is going to impact their health, their financial security, and the safety of their loved ones and caregivers," said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. "AARP is grateful that Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike recognize the uneasiness that comes from these uncertain times, and their willingness to speak directly with our members about resources available." 

In addition to working to ensure that older adults, their families and those caring for them have the most accurate and up-to-date information to protect themselves from COVID-19 and prevent the spread to others, AARP Illinois has also been working with state leaders on other concerns related to the outbreak, including:

  • The need for robust support and resources provided to states and local communities, including health care professionals and first responders, who are on the front lines of this effort.
  • The potential for fraud as scammers prey on older adults during this time – using headlines as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information.
  • Social isolation and the risks associated with leaving vulnerable older adults without access to food and regular human contact during this time.
  • Worries about financial security during uncertain economic times with markets reacting (or overreacting) to coronavirus news of the day.

The Town Hall will be monitored live by AARP screeners, who will patch through callers with questions covering a variety of concerns from all across Illinois.  

AARP Illinois members in Illinois who opt to receive telephone Town Hall calls as part of their membership will receive a phone call shortly before the start of the April 1 event. Those who wish to join the Tele-Town Hall through Facebook and Twitter can do so from the AARP and Governor's pages. 

Last week (3/26) a similar telephone Town Hall with Chicago Mayor Lightfoot and Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler brought in more than 5,000 phone participants and another 18,000 who listened through the Facebook Livestream. 

You can find AARP's coronavirus resources at 

About AARP 

AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, 1.7 million members in Illinois and 250,000 in Chicago, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.  To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.  


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