Pritzker said the Serve Illinois Commission is providing CDC guidance to service organizations across the state. This includes daily health surveys and temperature checks for volunteers and staff, disinfecting surfaces at shift changes, and limiting volunteer groups to no more than 10 people at a time, all with proper social distancing parameters.
He also called for blood donations as blood drives across the state are canceled, and noted there is no evidence that respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 can be spread through the blood stream. He also emphasized that donating blood does not weaken one’s immune system.
“A blood shortage would only worsen the health care crisis that we're facing right now. So we need your help,” he said.
He also called for donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE. His administration can be contacted on the matter via email at PPE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenné Myers, CEO of the Chicago Cares charity, said there is still a great need for volunteerism.
“We build community, we share resources, we strive to build a more vibrant and equitable Illinois,” she said of volunteers and volunteer organizations. “And for many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging this call to action. I'm here to tell you, though, that there's still a great need for volunteers throughout the state to help our most vulnerable neighbors.”
She said potential volunteers should reach out to neighborhood organizations or the Serve Illinois website, and she noted food pantries, shelters and related organizations need volunteers. She also urged people to check on neighbors and go shopping for those who cannot leave the house.
Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Illinois, said “every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.”
“To date, more than 6,000 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country, resulting in 200,000 fewer blood donations,” she said, adding that 120 of those cancellations came in Illinois after the COVID-19 crisis started.
“One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that we do not have another health crisis is to give blood,” she said.
Appointments for giving blood can be made by calling 1-800-red-cross or by making an appointment at redcrossblood.org.