Expanding efforts to build capacity for medical treatment, Pritzker called on doctors, nurses and physicians assistants who have recently left the field to “come back and join the fight.” He announced the state will expedite licensing and waive fees, and he added that health care workers whose licenses will soon expire will be automatically extended through September.
“This is hero’s work,” he said. “All of you have our deepest gratitude for your willingness to serve.”
Asked whether state officials were concerned about putting older, retired medical professionals in close quarters with the disease, Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in an email, “Obviously we don’t want to put any vulnerable people ... at further risk from undue exposure.”
“Retired professionals can be used in various ways in other aspects of healthcare that then relieves front line workers or allows workers at lower risk to move to the front lines,” she wrote.
Even as he defended his own measures, Pritzker lashed out at the federal government over the lack of coronavirus tests available, echoing his past criticisms of President Donald Trump’s efforts against the disease.
“Are we seeing more tests? Yes, but not even at the numbers we were promised weeks ago," he said. "I’m hopeful, in a way, that the commercial laboratories and that the private sector will help us figure this out because so far the federal government hasn’t.”