Pritzker Announces Purchase of Private Sector PPE, 236 New Cases of COVID-19

By Benjamin Cox on March 24, 2020 at 8:37am

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday that the state of Illinois would be purchasing private-sector Personal Protective Equipment to compensate for what hasn’t been received by the federal government. Pritzker said the state has received less than 10% of what it has asked for. He said that businesses and industry have accommodated for the large requests of PPE from the state for hospitals, clinics, and coronavirus testing materials.

Prizker said that the Illinois Manufacturers Association and Ibio has formed a task force to help fill the gap in N95 masks and ventilators that the state needs to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Pritzker also asked several private businesses closed during the coronavirus shutdown to reach out to his administration on possible PPE in stock. He has asked for hair salons, nail salons, and tattoo parlors to check their businesses for extra gloves, masks, and gowns in order to have them purchased by the government for redistribution to hospitals.

Pritzker said that despite having a spat on Twitter over the weekend with President Donald Trump that they spoke by phone today in what Pritzker said was a very responsive call about fulfilling the state’s medical supplies needs.

Pritzker had the adjutant general of the National Guard Richard Neely on hand to dispel rumors that the national guard was being armed to quell residents leaving their homes. Neely said that the 100 mobilized personnel are working in a healthcare capacity only.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike announced 236 new cases in the state, including 3 current deaths to date – bringing the toll to 12 statewide. Monroe County in the Metro East was also added to the list of counties with cases, bringing that total to 31. She said that the state’s numbers are currently aligning with other foreign countries’ outbreaks of the virus. “Our statistics have looked common to what the global statistics have been. Approximately 15-20% of people who contract the virus end up with some hospitalization and about 5% end up in ICU care.”

Pritzker said that his press conference today will be focusing on the amount of hospital beds currently available in the state and what the government is doing to get more.