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KANKAKEE – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced the Illinois Department of Public Health will operate a temporary COVID-19 testing site now through Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day at the Kankakee County Health Department, located at 2390 W. Station Street in Kankakee.

“A critical part of overcoming this virus is getting tested,” Joyce said. “This site will allow us to ramp up our testing capacity in Kankakee County and help reduce the spread in our community. I urge folks to get tested.”

Anyone will be able to get tested at the site for free, regardless of symptoms. No appointment is necessary, but daily testing supplies are limited, so residents are encouraged to visit early.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

However, people with COVID-19 can spread the virus before they start showing symptoms, and some individuals may be asymptomatic. For this reason, IDPH recommends testing for anyone who has recently been part of a large gathering or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

For more information about COVID-19 testing, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/testing.

Category: Information

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PARK FOREST – This Halloween, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is reminding drivers to keep themselves, other motorists and trick-or-treaters safe by never driving under the influence.

“Halloween may look a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Joyce said. “I want to encourage folks to celebrate safely by following health guidelines and making plans for a sober ride home if you plan to drink.” 

Illinois motor vehicle crash death rates are higher this year than last year. As of Oct. 23, 864 Illinoisans have lost their lives in vehicle accidents so far in 2020, according to information from the Illinois Department of Transportation. In an effort to keep motorists and pedestrians safe, law enforcement has increased its efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.

“We need to make a commitment as a community to celebrate safely,” Joyce said. “Make a conscious decision to buckle up and plan ahead for a sober ride home to keep our streets free of drunk drivers.” 

Joyce also wants to remind those celebrating to practice appropriate social distancing, keep gatherings to a minimum and never substitute a Halloween mask for a face covering intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. For more guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, visit dph.illinois.gov/covid19.

Category: Information

broadband2 102120PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging local businesses and nonprofits to apply for Connect Illinois grants to help expand broadband to underserved communities.

“Businesses and schools continue to rely heavily on internet access to coordinate virtual learning and conduct business, yet so many communities lack access to a high-speed internet connection,” Joyce said. “These grants will help us expand broadband access more quickly, efficiently and effectively across our rural communities.”

Connect Illinois is the state’s $420 million plan to provide necessary internet access to every Illinois community by 2024. In the first round of grants, funding was awarded to 28 projects across Illinois, which are expected to expand internet access to more than 26,000 homes, businesses, farms and community institutions across the state.

Eligible applicants for the second round include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments. Awardees may receive up to $5 million per project in matching funds. All Connect Illinois projects must meet the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois' Business Enterprise Program.

The application for this round of grants will remain open through February 2021. More information on this grant program can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Information

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PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) joins Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White to invite students in grades 4-12 to enter a statewide reading and writing competition known as “Letters About Literature in Illinois,” offered by the Illinois State Library’s Illinois Center for the Book.

“Literature is a powerful tool, and this is a wonderful opportunity for students to share their love for reading,” said Joyce. “I encourage students to participate in the competition and submit an entry.”

To participate, students must read a book of their choice and write a letter to the author about how the work changed their life or view of the world.

There are three levels of participation: Level 1 for grades 4-6, Level 2 for grades 7-8 and Level 3 for grades 9-12. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. Students can enter on their own or through their school, local library or other youth organization.

One winner will be selected from each group to receive a cash award and a plaque signed by Secretary White. Teachers of the winning students will receive a certificate and a cash award for their school to purchase books for the library.

“Every year, thousands of students in Illinois enjoy participating in this inspirational competition,” said White. “Anyone who has read past letters can see how literature inspires and touches the lives of our young people. I encourage all our students to take part in the competition and I hope their participation leads to a lifetime of reading.”

Winners will be formally announced in May 2021. All runners-up will receive certificates in May prior to the end-of-the-year award ceremonies.

For more information, contact competition coordinator Bonnie Matheis at 217-558-2065 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Category: Information

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