Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that more than 20 million pieces of personal protection equipment has been distributed in the state as officials announced more than 2,200 new COVID-19 cases.
Pritzker said that 10.1 million surgical masks, 1.8 million N95 masks, 173,000 gowns, 7.7 million gloves and 440,000 face shields have been sent to hospitals, health departments and nursing homes in Illinois.
On Monday, the state received a shipment from FEMA of more than 300,000 N95 masks, 500,000 KN95 masks, 1.1 million gloves and other equipment.
The state still needs 900,000 gowns and has submitted a critical needs request to FEMA. Pritzker said that the state’s stockpile is meant to supplement the stock at health care facilities and other frontline organizations who normally stock their own PPE directly from distributors.
Pritzker said that a new decontamination system has been deployed in Waukegan to help clean N95 masks. It is completely free and has a turnaround time of 24 hours. Each N95 can be decontaminated up to 20 times.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 2,253 new coronavirus cases and 92 additional deaths on Wednesday. The state’s total is now 50,355 positive cases and 2,215 deaths.
14,478 people were tested for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, officials said. The total number of people tested so far in the state is at 256,667.
The Pritzker Administration announced on Wednesday the state will delay cannabis dispensary licenses that were supposed to be issued by May 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said that the spread of the virus is slowing and prevention measures are working. The “R naught” value, which is how many people a single infected person infects, has shrunk.
“We have curved that number significantly. Significantly,” Ezike said. “We have gotten the desired effect. Have we gotten to the point where there’s no transmission of the virus? No. But we’ve done a fantastic job, and that’s why we need to stay the course.”
Pritzker said that the alternative care facility at McCormick Place has been scaled down due to less people needing medical attention from the coronavirus than initially expected.