COVID-19 Update: Pritzker discusses lack of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers, first responders

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

Gov. J.B. Pritzker talked about the state’s need for equipment for first responders during COVID-19 at a press conference on Monday.

This equipment consists of M-95 masks, gowns, ventilators, sanitizer, face shields, respirators and coveralls for hospital workers. 

Pritzker said biotechnology workers and manufacturing companies are teaming up with the state to ramp up production of personal protective equipment (PPE) through a newly launched alliance, The Essential Equipment Task Force. 

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“These companies will be coordinating manufacturers interested in donating or producing essential supplies that are FDA approved and sterilized,” Pritzker said. 

According to the governor, the companies are repurposing their facilities in order to meet critical demand. 

The companies have also launched a COVID-19 response fund to help get products out to those workers faster. 

Pritzker said these factories will be adhering to the strict social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety and health of the workers behind the PPE. 

Pritzker said he spoke directly with President Trump about the state’s immediate need for M-95 masks and ventilators and said it is important that Illinois acquires as many of them as they can. 

“I have medical professionals and first responders begging for items they need to keep them safe,” Pritzker said. “It is the government’s job to make sure we have a cohesive, prepared, robust national response.” 

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said there are 236 new cases of the coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number to 1,285. 

“Sadly, we also have to announce three deaths,” Ezike said. “Which brings the total number of lives lost from COVID-19 [in the state] to 12.” 

Monroe County has been added to the list of new counties to have a case of the coronavirus and there is a high level of need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders, according to Ezike. 

“We need to continue to do our part,” Ezike said. “To reduce the spread, we need to reduce the amount of exposures and thus far, the people of Illinois have been doing just that.” 

Pritzker said it is important for doctors, nurses and first responders to be as safe as possible while trying to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached via email at [email protected]

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