Coronavirus

Pritzker details coronavirus equipment requests – private companies to ramp up PPE supplies

Private companies to ramp up PPE supplies

A medical worker wearing a single protective glove and a face mask walks past a line of workers and visitors Monday waiting to be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the main entrance to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York.
A medical worker wearing a single protective glove and a face mask walks past a line of workers and visitors Monday waiting to be tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the main entrance to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York.

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The state of Illinois asked the federal government for various supplies and personal protective equipment on March 6, days before it officially announced a disaster proclamation.

Illinois received only a fraction of its request. According to Gov. JB Pritzker, the state received one shipment of supplies March 12.

The state asked for 4,000 respirators and received none. It asked for 1.2 million N95 masks and it received 123,000. The federal government sent far fewer goggles, face shields, gloves and surgical masks than the state asked for. The only request it fully met was for hospital gowns. The state asked for 24,000 gowns and received 45,000.

Pritzker said the state made a separate request Friday and received a shipment similar to the first one.

The governor also announced Monday that Illinois has agreed to its own contracts with private manufacturers for 2.5 million N95 masks, 1 million disposable surgical masks, 11,000 gloves and 10,000 single-use personal protection kits. He said manufacturers have told him that Illinois is competing with FEMA and even other countries in the rush to acquire supplies.

Pritzker asked for tattoo parlors, nail salons and elective surgery centers to consider donating personal protective equipment to the state. Those considering donating can email PPE.donations.illinois.gov.

Pritzker revealed the state’s request totals a day after he criticized President Donald Trump on CNN, drawing the ire of Trump in a tweet Sunday. Pritzker said he spoke with Trump over the phone Monday.

“The President was very responsive, frankly,” Pritzker said. “He didn’t so much like the idea of invoking the Defense Production Act, but he did say, ‘What do you need? Let me see if I can get that for you.’ I gave him some numbers and told him what we had ordered from the government already.

“It seems like he’s being very responsive to what I asked for and I hope that we’ll be able to receive those items in relatively short order.”

Pritzker continued to call on Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act, which gives the president broad power to require companies to manufacture products needed for the nation’s defense – in this case, medical equipment.

This comes as Illinois announced an additional 236 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and an additional three deaths, all in Cook County, bringing Illinois’ total to 1,285 cases and
12 deaths. The state has tested just under 10,000 individuals, as of Monday.

That includes one additional county with its first confirmed case: Monroe County. Now 31 of Illinois’ 102 counties have seen cases of COVID-19.

Lake County has 96 cases, while DuPage is at 95, Will has 24, Kane has 18, McHenry has 12, Kendall has four, La Salle has two and DeKalb and Whiteside each have one.

“Doctors, nurses, health care workers, they are on the frontlines,” Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “We need to keep them healthy so that they can care for the most vulnerable among us. We need to continue to do our individual and collective parts.”

Ezike said Illinois’ coronavirus statistics have looked common to what the global hospitalization rates have been.

Pritzker plans to address Illinois’ hospital bed capacity more in-depth on Tuesday.

“Approximately 15-20% of people who contract the virus end up with some hospitalization,” Ezike said. “About 5% end up in ICU care.”

A smaller percentage of that 5% in the ICU requires a ventilator.

For local volunteer opportunities in McHenry County, visit the Volunteer Center McHenry County.
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