Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued an executive order on Friday, March 19, accelerating the county’s ability to accept supplies, equipment and other donations from private partners, corporations and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preckwinkle’s signing the executive order is meant to get critical materials to vulnerable communities in need of emergency assistance by allowing the Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) to more rapidly accept and distribute donations.
Recently, as area first responders experience a shortage of potentially life-saving coronavirus supplies, EMRS distributed more than 33,600 N95 masks and an additional 38,800 gloves and gowns for the use of regional first responders immediately.
“Time is of the essence when responding to a crisis which is why cutting red tape to acquire and distribute supplies is so important,” Preckwinkle said. “By fast-tracking the process, we will be able to get resources to our communities where they are needed, when they are needed.”
“The Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security is dedicated to quickly and carefully protecting our residents,” said William Barnes, executive director of EMRS. “Every minute counts as we work to protect the region and this measure will be another helpful tool to combat the coronavirus.”
EMRS will catalog donations and assign them to first responders, municipal partners, county agencies or nonprofit organizations to maximize the impact on public health and safety, with priority given to unfulfilled resource requests. A monthly report of these activities will also be provided to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
For all updates on Cook County’s response to COVID-19, visit https://www.cookcountyil.gov/service/information-covid-19.