Illinois National Guard to deploy at developmental disabilities center rocked by COVID-19

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PARK FOREST, Ill. – After an outbreak at a state-run center for people with developmental disabilities in Park Forest happened, the National Guard is stepping in to help.

Starting Monday, 22 Illinois National Guard Airmen will deploy to the Elisabeth Ludeman Center. The National Guard have been sent to help weary staff, already stretched thin after more than 100 cases at the center.

The Guard’s job will be to take the temperature of staff before they enter the building and to perform health screenings.

“I have to say,” Park Forest Mayor Jonathan Vanderbilt said. “The staff at the Ludeman Center working double shifts to fill in those gaps.”

The center is in the middle of a battle. 83 residents and 28 employees have tested positive for the virus.

Two residents and one employee have died.

“But it’s not just at the Ludeman Center,” Mayor Vanderbilt said. “There are outbreaks at all of the state-owned facilities in Illinois.”

With the help of the community, from businesses to residents, the town has been able to get thousands of donations to the facility.

There’s been plenty of donations of gloves, gowns, N95 masks, homemade masks, hand sanitizer and medical equipment.

Now, the center needs other items. They are looking for disposable blood pressure cuffs, disposable stethoscopes and paper plates.

You can bring the donations to Building 2 at 114. N. Orchard Drive in Park Forest.

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