By Marissa Parra

CHICAGO (CBS) — Automaker General Motors is shipping out its first batch of potentially life-saving ventilators to hospitals in Illinois.

CBS 2’s Marissa Parra has more from Uptown where a truckload of the machines just arrived at Weiss Hospital where Friday was the first day of ventilator deliveries from General Motors and Ventec.  That’s 10 ventilators from Kokomo, Indiana.

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Weiss Hospital said it has been they’ve been hit hard by COVID-19. The hospital said it serves an elderly population, half of which are Medicare recipients.

Both high risk groups. The hospital has seen 50 COVID-19 patients and 12 deaths since the crisis. Weiss currently has 15 ventilators open, currently in service, but said that fluctuates day-to-day.

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The need is so great that at one point ,the hospital had a crisis and the city of Chicago had to step in to give the hospital ventilators before this shipment could arrive.

“We came to a point where we did not have enough,” said Dr. Suzanne Pham, Medical Director of Weiss’ COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team.

“When we got together last night to box these units up, it was emotional,” said Chris Kiple of Ventec.

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This was the second shipment. The first 10 arrived in Olympia Fields early Friday morning, and the third shipment is headed to Gary Chicago Airport with 34 ventilators.