CHICAGO (CBS) — There is a new recommendation from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the CDC: If you have to go outside, wear a mask or something that covers your nose and mouth.
CBS 2 Investigators found COVID-19 testing sites where cops on the front lines wear no protective gear and are exposed to people with symptoms every day.
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has more from Bolingbrook with his findings that have already lead to changes.
Safety changes are now coming to help protect officers. From what CBS 2 found, it’s not happening at these COVID-19 testing centers.
In this video, FEMA and other health and human services works are covered from top to bottom in protective gear at COVID-19 testing sites in the Chicago area and around the country.
They have to interact with people who potentially have the virus or symptoms on a daily basis.
But also on the front lines are police officers who have been assigned inside the very same testing sites wearing no protective gear.
The CBS 2 Investigators found officers having to deal daily with people potentially infected with COVID-19. In Bolingbrook CBS 2 found state police officers stationed at a testing center on Boughton Road. They do not look like the heavily protected workers. The state police have no gloves and no masks.
And in Joliet, patrol officers at the testing center entrances directing potentially COVID-19 positive motorists, also with no gloves or masks.
A lawyer for the the Joliet Police Union said there is an overall lack of direction for these officers, along with a lack of protective gear. And the fear and frustration from the cops on the street is growing.
“I really think the safety of the officers has to be on the forefront of everybody’s mind,” said Tamra Cummings, lawyer for the Illinois FOP.
“It’s not just a Joliet problem, it is a state problem and national problem,” Cummings said. “So on the one hand I understand this equipment is hard to come by, and on the other hand, they are on the front line.”
CBS 2 brought the findings to the Joliet city officials, and the police chief said they have now put out a directive for all their officers at these testing sites to wear safety equipment, including masks.
Other facilities have used members of the testing teams to deal directly with patients as they drive up instead of the unprotected police officers.
Joliet’s chief said they just got more masks Thursday and they will consider having the other testers help with moving traffic along.