$483M To Help IL Health Care Workers Get COVID-19 Testing

SPRINGFIELD (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- After picking up some fresh produce at a downtown Springfield farmers’ market Saturday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) had what he considered good news when he met with reporters.

“$483 million is coming from Washington to Illinois for testing,” Durbin said. “We need more and more testing. What would we use the testing for? First, every single health care worker should be tested at least once a week, maybe more often. We ought to go to the areas where we are seeing hot spots. Nursing homes, for example.”

A single nursing home accounts for more than eighty percent of the coronavirus deaths in Sangamon County, where Springfield is located. 

“First, we need a real stockpile,” said Durbin. “For this President to say, 'I didn’t get one,' he’s around for three years! What has he done in three years to build up the stockpile? The answer is little or nothing. And he’s cut back within the White House in terms of the planners for that purpose. Secondly, we have got to have a system in place where the federal government leads. That’s the only entity that can help bring in the protective equipment. Otherwise, it’s governor against governor.”

Durbin also praised the House-passed $3 trillion aid package, which Republicans dislike. And, reflecting on his college days working in a slaughterhouse, Durbin called for more stringent safety standards in the meatpacking industry, adding the workers’ race and immigration status should not matter: “We’re all in this together.”