Amid Nationwide Shortage, Cook County Distributing Tens of Thousands of Masks, Gloves to Area First Responders

As area first responders experience a shortage of potentially life-saving coronavirus supplies, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) distributed more than 33,600 N95 masks and an additional 38,800 gloves and gowns for the use of regional first responders immediately.

The move by President Preckwinkle is an important step to getting much-needed materials and key protections to Cook County emergency workers as reported COVID-19 cases increase in the area. Roughly 86 jurisdictions across  Cook County received personal protective equipment from the County to support police, fire and EMS personnel. The distribution, most of which took place yesterday evening, came from the County’s emergency supply cache with additional equipment provided by the State of Illinois.

“Cook County is working tirelessly to protect our residents and provide potentially life-saving supplies to frontline workers,” President Preckwinkle said. “These are much-needed supplies going to areas lacking important resources. Distributing these masks, gloves and other equipment is a critically important measure to help ensure coronavirus care can be provided. We are incredibly grateful for the heroic work of our first responders and must do whatever we can to provide them the tools necessary to do their jobs effectively and as safely as possible.”

“The Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security is committed to strongly and swiftly responding to the emergency needs of our residents,” said William Barnes, executive director of EMRS. “The distribution of these important supplies is vitally important to our continued efforts to combat the coronavirus and protect the region.” Please click here for video from yesterday's emergency supply distribution.

Preckwinkle also this week launched a new emergency text alert system, hotline number and email address to keep the public informed with accurate information regarding COVID-19 this week. 

”AlertCook,” the new Cook County public safety and preparedness messaging service, offers subscribers a direct line of communication to receive updates from Cook County Government related to public health alerts and emergency management. Simply text ‘AlertCook’ to 888-777 to opt-in and receive the latest COVID-19 alerts and information.

Cook County Department of Public Health is also providing a COVID-19 hotline and email address for the general public to receive answers to frequently asked questions. The hotline number: (708) 633-3319 and email address: will be staffed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday - Friday.

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