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*** UPDATED x1 *** COVID-19 roundup

Saturday, Apr 4, 2020

* A tale of two Pritzker administration responses. Here’s one, from Mark Brown

In a state where the government usually operates on the basis of buy now, pay later (often much, much later), the emergency of the coronavirus pandemic has required a decidedly different approach.

About two weeks ago, Illinois officials tracked down a supply of 1.5 million potentially life-saving N95 respirator masks in China through a middleman in the Chicago area and negotiated a deal to buy them.

One day before they were expecting to complete the purchase, they got a call in the morning from the supplier informing them he had to get a check to the bank by 2 p.m. that day, or the deal was off. Other bidders had surfaced.

Realizing there was no way the supplier could get to Springfield and back by the deadline, Illinois assistant comptroller Ellen Andres jumped in her car and raced north on I-55 with a check for $3,469,600.

It really is a great read, so check it out.

* But here’s the second, from John Garcia at ABC 7

The COO [of the company which owns high-end suit maker Hart Schaffner and Marx] said he is trying to get the green light from the state to start producing protective masks.

“First and foremost there are people that need surgical masks and surgical gowns. We have a factory that is sitting idle,” said Ken Ragland of Hart Schaffner and Marx. […]

“We’re beyond frustrated, we’re angry. Very much emotional about it because we know we can help,” said Ragland.

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services or “CMS” confirms it was contacted by W Diamond Group, the company that owns Hart Schaffner and Marx. In a statement to ABC7, CMS says it’s “…working with vendors of every size and industry to support the needs of State agencies during the COVID-19 response. We are working with interested businesses offering support, including W Diamond Group, to help them navigate the process to quickly and efficiently provide critical materials and services, like personal protective equipment to State agencies.”

Not good. I’ve asked the governor’s office for a response.

*** UPDATE *** This statement from the governor’s office appears to say in a roundabout way that the clothier doesn’t meet FDA guidelines and should maybe take a chill pill…

The Governor’s Office appreciates the hard work and genuine efforts of Illinoisans who are stepping up during this challenging time. We have connected manufacturers with no previous PPE experience interested in helping out by manufacturing needed supplies to our partners working on a personal protection equipment taskforce with IMA and iBio. PPE for our first responders and healthcare workers is required to meet FDA guidelines like being manufactured in a specific factory environment with certain quality controls.

* Not the same sort of mask, but maybe adequate for a grocery run…


* This happened Thursday, the same day Gov. Pritzker emphasized the importance of filling out the Census form during his daily press conference…


I actually grumbled privately about Pritzker’s focusing on the Census during that presser, but it apparently had an impact.

* And we’ll close with this must-watch…


* Roundup…

* Dr. Terry Mason, head of Cook County’s public health department, out amid pandemic

* Illinois state lawmakers adapt to new reality during COVID-19 pandemic

* When will the impact of coronavirus hit state budgets?

* The next coronavirus test will tell you if you are now immune. And it’s fast.

* Cook County Jail detainees confirmed positive for COVID-19 now at 210

* Manor Court resident with COVID-19 died Thursday; 2nd Manor Court resident tests positive: She is the first confirmed death of a person with COVID-19 in Illinois’ lower 17 counties.

* 2 employees at Walmart in Evergreen Park die after falling ill to the coronavirus

* Know the new coronavirus rules at Walmart, Target and Home Depot

* Americans are encouraged to wear face masks in public, though Trump says he won’t wear one

* Billionaire Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest resident, sets up emergency trading base at Florida hotel

* An inside look at McCormick Place’s transformation into a Chicago coronavirus field hospital

* Bleak picture for restaurant and hotel industries among hardest hit by the pandemic

* Some states receive masks with dry rot, broken ventilators

* Paxton pharmacy makes hand sanitizer at local lab, helping first responders, others

* Don’t believe it! Common coronavirus myths debunked

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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* *** UPDATED x1 *** Not sure what to even say about this
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* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Pritzker implores protesters to "not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain"
* Yesterday's stories

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