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News Around Illinois – March 25, 2020

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Illinois Could Need 38K More Beds If Virus Isn’t Contained

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois would need tens of thousands of additional hospital beds for COVID-19 patients within the next two weeks in a worst-case scenario amid a pandemic that has now claimed 16 lives in the state. The Democrat said at his daily briefing that the state would need almost 38,000 additional hospital beds, including more than 9,000 in intensive-care units, along with nearly 5,000 ventilators, if containment strategies aren’t successful. The administration is evaluating closed hospitals for temporary reuse and setting up triage centers outside existing hospitals to evaluate potential patients. – Associated Press

East-Central Illinois Health Care Providers Now Accepting Cloth Mask Donations

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County health care providers and public health officials say area facilities have received offers from volunteers interested in donating homemade cloth masks, according to a news release. Area facilities “currently have sufficient supply of surgical masks and other PPE and continue to follow guidelines for the safety of patients and staff,” the statement reads. But Champaign county facilities have created a way for community members to contribute cloth masks, because, while they don’t prevent COVID-19 and aren’t recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use by the general public, they can help prevent the spread of germs when worn by people who are sick. For those who wish to make masks, area providers encourage people to follow the directions available in this video on YouTube and email makeamask@carle.com when masks are ready for pickup, bundled in groups of 25 in ziplock bags. Read the full story here.  – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Businesses Adapting To Physical Distance Order

CHAMPAIGN – Governor J.B. Prizker’s coronavirus Stay-At-Home order is changing the landscape for Illinois businesses. One such business is Rogards, a century-old office equipment supplier in Champaign. President and CEO Tonya Horn says that to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, their delivery crews now carry plenty of hand sanitizer, and practice “no-contact” delivery techniques.  “You know, pretty much dropping things off at a front desk or in a foyer or at a delivery dock, things like that,” said Horn. “A lot of times we do some pretty extensive inside delivery. So we’ve cut back on that for right now.” Horn says if the current restrictions continue for more than a month, many small businesses like hers will be in trouble. And she would hope for a government grant, loan or payroll tax deduction to continue. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

FAA Reopens Midway Air Traffic Control Tower Closed By Virus

CHICAGO — The Federal Aviation Administration has reopened the air traffic control tower at Chicago’s Midway International Airport. The FAA closed the tower last week after three workers tested positive for the coronavirus. The FAA kept the airport open despite the control tower’s closing and subsequent cleaning. Flights into and out of Chicago’s second-largest airport were curtailed with traffic being directed from an alternate control facility located outside the city. In announcing the airport’s reopening Tuesday, the FAA did not address whether other workers at Midway had been tested or asked to self-quarantine. – Associated Press

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