Pres. Trump approves major disaster declaration for Ill.; Gov. Pritzker activates more National Guardsmen

Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 2:32 PM CDT
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KFVS) - President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Illinois on Thursday and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by COVID-19 starting in January 2020 and continuing.

This makes federal funds available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the state.

Governor JB Pritzker held a daily briefing at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.

Follow along as we give a daily update on COVID-19 in Illinois:

Posted by Governor JB Pritzker on Thursday, March 26, 2020

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,538 positive cases and 26 deaths in the state.

That’s 673 new cases in Illinois, including seven deaths; a man in his 50s, two men and two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s.

Approximately 87 percent of deaths are among patients 60 years of age and older.

The state is responding to a surge of unemployment claims in March due to the impacts of COVID-19. March unemployment claims total 133,763 compared to 27,493 over the same period in 2019. You can click here for more information.

Also on Thursday, Governor Pritzker activated approximately 60 additional soldiers and airmen from the Metro East National Guard Unit.

The service members were activated on Thursday morning, March 26 to help with support in the COVID-19 response operations.

Approximately 50 soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company, based in East St. Louis, Ill., will support medical warehouse operations in central Illinois. Service members will be helping agencies quickly and securely distribute medical supplies and equipment.

Another six service members will work at the State Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and to provide analysis for potential flood response operations.

Currently, there about 200 Illinois National Guard members helping with response efforts throughout the state.

Members from all lines of professions are helping with various operations.

The following is a list of tasks and positions some of the guard members are holding:

  • Approximately 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians, based in Peoria, are assisting with testing site near Chicago. Approximately 50 other soldiers, based in Cook County, are also helping at this testing site. They are assisting with logistics and operations.
  • Approximately 10 airmen, based in Peoria, finished evaluating and studying hotels and shuttered hospitals to see if they can be used for additional healthcare centers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are reviewing their findings to see what it will take for contractors to rehabilitate the sites into operational order.
Airmen, with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 182nd Medical...
Airmen, with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 182nd Medical Group, are inspecting a Chicago area hospital to see if it can be reopened.((Source: U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Reed))
  • About 20 full-time Air and Army National Guard members, based in Peoria, including medical professionals and experts in biological decontamination, are assisting with command and control of National Guard forces at community-based testing sites.
  • Approximately 30 other service members, based in Peoria and Springfield, are working as liaisons and planners. This includes geospatial planners and medical planners who are embedded with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management, and Communications, the Illinois State Police as well as serving at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

If you would like to see more of what the Illinois National Guard is doing with the COVID-19 response and other missions, click here.

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