Governor J. B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation on March 9 to get more additional federal resources to help the state prepare for the potential of further spread of the coronavirus. Issuing a disaster proclamation is a method of declaring a state of emergency in the state of Illinois, which 13 states across the United States have entered into, a release said. “As we’ve said from the beginning, the state of Illinois will use every tool at our disposal to respond to this virus, and this is the next step in that commitment,” said Pritzker. “We stand ready to put the full weight of state government in preparation for a fullfledged response when needed and will continue to update the public regularly, responsibly and honestly as the situation evolves.” The proclamation formalizes emergency procedures already underway across state government by activating the State Emergency Operations Center, physically bringing together decision-makers from every state agency and the state’s highly qualified mutual aid network to deploy resources as necessary during this public health threat, the release said. State and local partners benefit from a disaster proclamation because it allows federal reimbursement for state response costs, allows use of the State Disaster Relief Fund that covers direct state costs and reimbursements to Illinois National Guard and mutual aid groups, allows use of the state’s mutual aid network of groups of public safety response professionals and authorizes the governor to activate Illinois National Guard reservists, some of whom may be doctors and nurses The state and the Chicago Department of Public Health announced that there have been 32 cases of people testing positive for the virus as of March 12. Vulnerable populations including people age 60 and older or those with certain health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and weakened immune systems are recommended to avoid large gatherings, the release said. For more information, visit www.diphd.illinois. gov.