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Ventilators For COVID-19 Patients Arrive In Chicago

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.

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.

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.

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.

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