Cook County distributes 70,000 masks, gloves and gowns to first responders

Amid a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment needed to battle coronavirus, authorities are distributing more than 70,000 masks, gloves and gowns over the weekend to first responders in Cook County.

The Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security, which is providing the needed supplies, said most had been distributed Friday night.

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Over 33,600 N95 masks and 38,800 gloves and gowns went out to police, fire and EMS personnel across 86 jurisdictions, according to a statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office. Most of the materials came from the county’s emergency cache, the statement 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,” Preckwinkle said. “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.”

Two Chicago Fire Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, as has a detective in the Chicago Police Department.